Wednesday, April 13, 2011

29 killed on roads on first day of Songkran

Tourists participate in a water fight with Thais during the Songkran Festival celebration at Khaosan road in Bangkok April 12, 2011. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK - THE so-called seven dangerous days of Songkran, Thailand's water festival have claimed 29 lives and over 400 injured in road accidents. Pronvinces Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya and Prachuap Khiri Khan are leading in the number of fatalities, according to a report from Thailand's Road Safety Centre (RSC) yesterday.

The number of casualties are fewer compared to the same period last year - deaths have dropped by around 35.5 per cent and injuries decreased by 34.5 per cent. The total number of road accidents had also dropped to 365 from 557, Interior permanent secretary Vichien Chavalit told the press when announcing the RSC report.

Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya and Prachuap Khiri Khan each recorded three deaths, the highest so far. Nakhon Si Thammarat had the most accidents at 22, followed by Chiang Rai (20) and Surin (18). Chiang Rai also recorded the highest number of injuries at 22, Vichien said.

Driving under the influence of alcohol remains one of the major causes of accidents at 30.1 per cent, followed by speeding at 20 per cent. Up to 83.2 per cent of the accidents involved motorcycles and the mishaps usually occurred between 4pm and 8pm, he said.

This year's seven dangerous days of Songkran began on Monday and will run until Sunday. RSC started issuing a daily report on road accidents yesterday.

The fatalities this year include two men who failed to wear their helmets when riding a motorcycle up the Doi Inthanon Mountain and died from severe head injuries when their bike slid on the slippery road. 


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