Road snarls mar holiday start

Traffic crawled to a halt across the nation yesterday as the four-day New Year holiday kicked off with huge numbers of vehicles jamming many key routes.

Intense congestion was reported from Friday evening and throughout the day yesterday on many roads, especially those linking Bangkok with neighbouring provinces.

Heading northeast from the capital, a 30km-long traffic jam was reported on Mittraphap Road between Saraburi's Kaeng Khoi district and Nakhon Ratchasima's Pak Chong district. The delays prompted police to open an extra lane in Pak Chong to help traffic flow.

Heading north on Phahon Yothin Road, traffic slowed to a crawl near Dechatiwong bridge in Nakhon Sawan, causing lengthy delays for motorists. On Phetkasem Road, several accidents stalled southbound motorists.

Thirty-eight people were killed yesterday on the second day of the "Seven Dangerous Days" road safety campaign, taking the total death toll so far to 71.

More than 800 road accidents have been reported, with drink driving and speeding were blamed for most cases.

In Phitsanulok, a 26-year-old woman who was seven months pregnant, Surat Kerdthong, was killed when her motorcycle was hit by a pickup in Wat Bot district. Her husband, who was riding the bike, suffered severe injuries. The pickup driver had been drinking.

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