The death toll from road accidents during the first five days of the Songkran holidays fell by 17.5% compared to the same period last year on Saturday but the numbers of accidents and injuries continued to increase.
Nearly 3,000 traffic accidents killed almost 300 people and injured more than 3,000 during the first five days of travel during the Songkran festival as vacationers were returning from the provinces to work on Sunday.
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported on Sunday that from April 11-15, 2,985 traffic accidents killed 283 people and injured 3,087.
Over the five days, Chiang Mai province, a popular destination for Songkran travellers, posted the highest numbers of accidents (140) and injuries (145). The highest death toll of 17 was reported in Nakhon Ratchasima province, the gateway to the Northeast.
On April 15 alone, there were 600 traffic accidents which killed 53 people and injured 634.
Drink drivers remained as the most common cause of the accidents, responsible for 45%, followed by speed limit violations (25%).
From April 12-15, the National Council for Peace and Order seized 3,969 motorcycles and 1,243 other vehicles from drink drivers in a bid to curb traffic accidents during the Songkran festival.
Songkran travellers started trips from the provinces to Bangkok Saturday night and officials set up highway rest areas to ensure motorists were ready to drive safely, Highways police commissioner Somchai Kaosamran said on Sunday.
Bangkok-bound flights of low-cost airlines and seats of interprovincial buses were fully booked in the northern province of Chiang Mai on Sunday. More carriages were deployed in the northern province of Phitsanulok to serve travellers. Long queues formed in the bus terminal of Nakhon Ratchasima.
Congestion started on the Bangkok-bound Asian Highway in Chai Nat province and Bangkok-bound Mitrapharp Highway in Nakhon Ratchasima.