New Year road toll quickly climbs

New Year road toll quickly climbs

City Hall staff lead taxi motorcyclists through part of the town on Friday, as part of a road safety campaign encouraging motorcyclists to turn on their headlamps. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
City Hall staff lead taxi motorcyclists through part of the town on Friday, as part of a road safety campaign encouraging motorcyclists to turn on their headlamps. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

Road accidents claimed 42 lives on Thursday, the first day of the New Year holiday, with another 565 people injured in the 524 accidents, officials said.

Despite the government's avowed intention to reduce the toll, this was three more deaths than the same day last year, an increase of around 8%, with 85 more accidents (up 18%), according to Sophon Mekthon, permanent secretary for public health and director of the Road Safety Directing Centre.

The most common cause of  accidents was drunk driving, including people under 20 years old, and speeding. He said 83% of the accidents involved motorcycles.

Most accidents occurred on main roads between 4pm and 8pm. Those killed were of working age, 20-44 years old.

Ching Mai in the North recorded the most accidents, with 21 on Thursday.

Pathum Thani province had the highest death toll, with four people were killed, and Phitsanulok and Udon Thani provinces the most injured on the roads, with 23 each.

Police and soldiers impounded 21 motorcycles and six cars from drunk drivers on Thursday, to prevent road accidents, the National Council for Peace and Order announced.

Officials also seized 62 motorcycle driving licences and 25 public vehicle driving licences from drunk drivers.

During last year's seven-day New Year holiday period, 380 people died in road accidents.

This year, as of Thursday, traffic accidents had claimed about 9,600 lives and injured about 823,000 people, according to the Road Accident Victims Protection Co.


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