Strict 'no drink-driving' campaign for Songkran

Strict 'no drink-driving' campaign for Songkran

Police man a road safety checkpoint during the last New Year holiday, strictly enforcing road safety and
Police man a road safety checkpoint during the last New Year holiday, strictly enforcing road safety and "No drink driving" laws.(Bangkok Post photo)

A strict "No drink driving" campaign will be enforced over the Songkran Festival holiday, including temporary seizure of the vehicles and licences of drunk drivers, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) deputy spokeswoman Col Sirichan Ngathong announced on Monday.

Col Sirichan said the decision to revive the harsh road safety measures used during the New Year holiday was made at today's meeting of the NCPO chaired by army chief Gen Theerachai Nakwanich, the NCPO secretary-general, at army headquarters.

She said the aim was to make it safer for people travelling to their home province during celebration next month, and reduce the usual road carnage during the annual water splashing festival.

"Gen Theerachai ordered all agencies to continue with the campaign against drink-driving under an NCPO order, to enable people to travel safely over Songkran," Col Sirichan said.

The order, issued under Section 44 of the interim constitution in December last year, was initially intended for use during the 2015-2016 New Year Festival.

It empowers authorities to seize the licences of drunk-drivers for up to 30 days and impound their vehicles for a minimum of seven days. Drunk drivers may also be arrested and detained, then sent to attend a behavioural adjustment programme for a maximum of 15 days.

The NCPO agreed at today's meeting the same safety campaign should be implemented for the coming Songkran Festival long-weekend holiday. Songkran is officially Wednesday April 13 to Friday April 15.

Soldiers, police and administrative officials will again set up checkpoints to search for illegal items, direct traffic, provide rest areas, provide needed first aid and make sure all motorists obey road safety rules.

During the New year campaign, from Dec 29, 2015 to Jan 4, 2016, a total of 4,672 vehicles, most of them motorcycles, were temporarily impounded from drunk drivers.

There were a total of 3,379 traffic accidents during that period.  In all, 380 deaths were recorded during the New Year holiday period, with 3,505 people injured. 

During the last year's Songkran holiday, a total of 364 people were killed and 3,559 injured in 3,373 road accidents nationwide, according to the Interior Ministry.

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