Road safety centre opens for New Year

Road safety centre opens for New Year

Heightened alert for '7 dangerous days'

Activists hold up placards encouraging motorists to drive safely during the forthcoming New Year holiday, in a road safety campaign launched by the Public Health Ministry on Monday in Bangkok.  Apichart Jinakul
Activists hold up placards encouraging motorists to drive safely during the forthcoming New Year holiday, in a road safety campaign launched by the Public Health Ministry on Monday in Bangkok.  Apichart Jinakul

The road safety and accident reduction centre was launched on Monday ahead of the New Year exodus of holidaymakers.

The opening coincides with the government-directed seasonal road safety campaign during the so-called "seven dangerous days" around the New Year.

This year, the period runs from today to Jan 4, while the long weekend officially lasts four days and starts on Thursday.

Many people have been heading out of town since the beginning of the week and this year, fewer people are expected to take public transport due to the fear of contracting Covid-19.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who presided over the launch of the centre at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said the government was working to ensure people travelled safely during the holidays.

Gen Prawit said the rules would be strictly enforced over the New Year -- traffic monitoring and accident prevention agencies will integrate their usual work with urgent situations as and when they arise.

Priority is being given to reducing traffic accidents at the same time as encouraging public health measures in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Gen Prawit said vehicles should be checked to see if they are roadworthy, pickup trucks must not carry too many passengers in the bed of the vehicles, and motorists will be subjected to to breathalyser tests.

Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Army has set up 226 rest stops outside army barracks nationwide to help motorists over the holidays.

The 24/7 stops will also be on Bangkok's major travel arteries such as Phahon Yothin Road, Sukhumvit Road, the Friendship Highway and Phetkasem Road.

Staff from military-run hospitals will man the rest stops to provide medical care if needed.

The rest stops, which will also offer vehicle check-ups and receive emergency complaints, have been operating since Dec 25 and will run until Jan 6.

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