King expresses concern over road accidents during Songkran festival
His Majesty the King has expressed concern over the loss of life in road accidents during the long Songkran holidays as casualties continue to mount.
Deputy government spokesman, Lt-Gen Weerachon Sukondhapatipak, said today that HM the King had conveyed his concerns through Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and had instructed all provincial authorities to try to reduce road accidents as rapidly as possible.
According to the Centre for the Prevention and Reduction of Road Accidents, the death toll nationwide during the three days up to yesterday increased to 174 with 1,728 injured.
Yesterday alone, 67 people died and 733 others were injured in 700 road accidents, with drunk driving accounting for 42.71% of the accidents followed by 26.14% the result of speeding. Motorcycles were involved in 81.8% of the accidents and 66.43% occurred on straight roads, with most of the incidents occurring between 4 and 8pm.
Interior deputy permanent secretary, Pavin Chamniprasart, said that 54.6% of the fatalities were those of local people and most of them were drivers, with speeding being blamed as the main cause.
Meanwhile, Cultural Promotion director-general Somchai Nakonchai blamed alcohol consumption by Songkran revelers for making secondary roads more prone to road accidents. He suggested that police tighten up law enforcement against drunk driving, riding motorcycles without crash helmets and the sale of alcohol.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) deputy spokesperson, Colonel Sirichan Ngathong, said that, in the past three days, authorities had taken legal action against over 98,000 alleged offenders and impounded 609 cars as well as 1,685 motorcycles, mostly for alleged drunk driving.
Yesterday, 24,866 people were arrested and charged for driving dangerously in a way which might cause a road accident.