Songkran splash sites to be strictly booze-free

Songkran splash sites to be strictly booze-free

Health minister vows strict enforcement as part of broader alcohol-control campaign

People get into the Songkran spirit at CentralWorld shopping mall in Bangkok in April last year. (Bangkok Post File Photo)
People get into the Songkran spirit at CentralWorld shopping mall in Bangkok in April last year. (Bangkok Post File Photo)

Rules will be strictly enforced to make water-splashing venues nationwide completely free of alcohol during the Songkran festival next month, officials said on Tuesday.

A complete alcohol ban will be enforced at all Songkran venues for the entire festival period, the alcoholic beverage control committee said.

The official Songkran public holiday lasts from April 13-17 but the “World Songkran Festival” will be staged from April 1-21 to boost tourism.

The alcohol ban will be rigidly enforced with special attention paid to ensure that minors cannot access booze and sales elsewhere will not take place outside the permitted hours.

Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew, who chaired a meeting of the committee on Tuesday, said that alcohol control guidelines suggested by the Department of Disease Control and related bodies were all approved.

The guidelines represent part of a new phase of the national alcoholic beverage control scheme (2022-27), intended to bring down casualties from road accidents.

As most accidents were the result of drunk driving, Dr Cholnan provincial governors and local authorities to designate alcohol-free zones for Songkran revellers in order to maintain public safety and order.

Citing data from April 11-17 last year, he said that road accidents caused a total of 4,340 casualties, including 252 deaths, with 502 of the injured and dead reported to be under 20 years old. Most accidents occured on secondary rather than main roads.

Preventive measures will be intensified this year in local communities to prevent drunk-driving accidents. Road checkpoints will also be beefed up.

Motorists and motorcyclists involved in road accidents will be subjected to breathalyser or blood tests.

Motorists under 20 caught driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level in excess of 20 milligrammes will face an investigation to identify the seller of the booze they consumed. The seller could be prosecuted, officials said.

Those on probation for drunk driving-related offences, and who are arrested for repeating the same crime, will be sent immediately for rehabilitation at facilities run by the the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Cholnan said.

Do you like the content of this article?