Songkran death toll rises to 259

Songkran death toll rises to 259

Rescue workers rush to take injured people to a hospital after a tour bus operating between Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai skid off a road in Phetchabun's Lom Sak district on Friday morning, causing the driver and two passengers to suffer injuries. (Bangkok Post photo)
Rescue workers rush to take injured people to a hospital after a tour bus operating between Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai skid off a road in Phetchabun's Lom Sak district on Friday morning, causing the driver and two passengers to suffer injuries. (Bangkok Post photo)

The fourth day of the Songkran festival’s “seven dangerous days’’ saw 259 people lose their lives in road accidents across the country, up almost 36% from 2015.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation's road safety centre reported2,378 were injured in 2,216 road accidents nationwide, an increase of 27.7% over last year. 

On Thursday alone, 78 people were killed and 601 hurt in 555 crahses, said Lt Gen Theerawat Boonyawat, head of the National Council for Peace and Order's civil affairs section.

Drink-driving was the major cause of accidents or 39.8%, followed by speeding, 32.1%, he said, citing the road safety centre's report. Most accidents involved motorcycles, with 78.8%, followed by pickup trucks, 10.8%.

Over the past four days of the Songkran festival, Chiang Mai province recorded the largest number of accidents at 100 as well as the most injuries at 104. Bangkok saw the highest number of fatalities at 14.

Chayapol Thitisak, deputy permanent secretary for the Interior Ministry said more than 58% of those killed over the past four days were residents living in the areas where road accidents occurred.

Chatchai Promlert, director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said the road safety centre has instructed officials manning road checkpoints to aggressively prosecute those involved in speeding, drink-driving and those who don't use seatbelts or wear helmets in a bid to reduce fatalities. More than half of those killed died at the scene of the accident,  said Mr Chatchai.

Meanwhile,  a total number of those who lost their lives on the fourth day of the Songkran festival in four northeastern provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Buri Ram and Surin stood at 31.

Piyachat Insawang, director of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office Zone 5, said on Friday that the number of those killed during the Songkran festival in the four provinces under the jurisdiction of her office increased by 13 from last year, or 72.2%.

There were a total of 139 road accidents in the four provinces, with Nakhon Ratchasima having the highest number of road accidents at 66 and highest number of injuries at 73. Nakhon Ratchasima and Buri Ram saw the largest number of deaths at 12 each, said Ms Piyachat.


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