‘Dangerous’ Songkran slightly less deadly this year

A motorcycle careens by Songkran revelers ready to splash passing vehicles in a 2015 file photo taken in Bangkok’s Min Buri district. Photo: Alexander Hotz/Coconuts Media
A motorcycle careens by Songkran revelers ready to splash passing vehicles in a 2015 file photo taken in Bangkok’s Min Buri district. Photo: Alexander Hotz/Coconuts Media

Nearly 400 people were killed on the roads during what’s been dubbed the “seven dangerous days” of Songkran, a slight decline in the infamous Thai New Year’s death toll since last year.

Despite starting off day one on a deadlier note, the Road Safety Center today reported that 386 people died and 3,442 were injured in 3,338 from April 11 through Wednesday. That was 32 fewer than the 418 people killed in 2018.

More people die on 1st ‘dangerous day’ of Songkran

Those numbers are only based on fatalities reported at the scene (and not many who died later at the hospital) that the center was notified about. The actual number is likely much higher as some succumb to their victims later and are uncounted in the center’s tally.

Chiang Mai and Nakhon Sri Thammarat provinces topped the charts with 128 accidents each, followed by Chiang Rai with 96 and Songkhla with 91. As usual, drunk drinking and speeding remained the No. 1 causes of accidents.

On the bright side, however, four provinces got through the holiday without any fatalities at all: Krabi, Sukhothai, Phang Nga and Ang Thong.

Nonetheless, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha chimed in to say he remains unsatisfied with the numbers. He promised to implement more severe measures to reduce road accidents, Sanook reports. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon suggested harsher punishments for traffic violators as a possible solution.

The Thai New Year of Songkran is a joyous occasion when many travel to their hometowns to spend time with family while herds of tourists pour in to partake in the (in)famous nationwide water-fighting festivities.

More people on the roads, more partying, more drinking and lax enforcement of traffic laws translates into more accidents. Twice a year, the media closely follows the “seven dangerous days” during the international New Year’s and Songkran, which this year runs April 11-17.

The highest death toll in recent years was in 2016, when it hit 442 during the same period.

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CITY: BANGKOKCATEGORY: NEWS

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