New Year road deaths up by 9.5%

New Year road deaths up by 9.5%

The road death toll during the New Year holidays rose by 9.5% from last year to 463, even as the numbers of accidents and injuries fell.

There were 40 more fatalities than last year and 15 less than the all-time record two years ago.

From Dec 27 last year until Wednesday, 3,791 road accidents took place, down 1.3% from last year's levels, while 3,892 were hospitalised, down 2.8%, according to data from the Road Safety Directing Centre Thursday. The period, also known as the seven dangerous days, was designated to promote road safety for travel during the New Year holidays.

Nakhon Ratchasima, the gateway to the Northeast, saw the highest number of road fatalities (25) while Nakhon Si Thammarat of the South saw the highest numbers of accidents (118) and injuries (137).

Four provinces reported no road fatalities -- Tak, Phrae, Satun and Samut Songkhram. Drink driving remained the major cause of road deaths (40.4%), followed by speeding (28.3%). Motorcycles were most prone to accidents (80%), followed by pickup trucks (7%) and cars (4.1%).

Most accidents occurred between 4pm and 8pm (9.3%), followed by noon to 2pm (17.8%). By age group, those aged 50 or older had the highest number (24.5%), followed by those between 30-39. Some 1.2 million were prosecuted, up 34.3% from the previous year. The main charges were not wearing helmets, up 27.6% year-on-year to 321,800 cases, followed by driving without licences, up 21.5% to 290,000.

Meanwhile, a total of 5,164 vehicles were impounded nationwide over drink-driving offences between Dec 27 and Jan 2 under the road safety promotion campaign, said Col Sirichan Ngathong, deputy spokeswoman for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Of the number, 3,859 were motorcycles and the rest were buses and cars. A total of 8,312 driving licences were also temporarily seized for drink driving and other unsafe driving cases, she said.

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