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New Year accidents rise

There were a total of 4,475 road accidents resulting in 401 deaths and 4,903 injuries during the "seven dangerous days" of the New Year break, the Road Safety Centre announced yesterday.

Published on January 5, 2008

Road accident figures were up by 19 on the same period last year, while the death toll was down by 48 and injuries down by 40, announced Deputy Interior Minister Banyat Jansena.

Chiang Rai had both the most accumulated accidents with 157 and the most injuries at 169.

Bangkok had the highest death toll at 24 deaths followed by Khon Kaen and Nakhon Pathom with 18 and 17 respectively. Mae Hong Son, Pattani and Narathiwat reported no deaths from road accidents at all.

On Thursday, there were 354 road accidents across the country, killing 32 people and injuring 389, said Banyat. Drink driving was the highest cause of death at 23 per cent followed by speeding at 21 per cent. Most accidents - 81 per cent - involved motorcycles and 67 per cent took place on a straight stretches of highway. The period from 4pm to 8pm was the period when most accidents occurred.

Around 1,168,749 vehicles were stopped at 3,053 checkpoints on Thursday and 31,659 law violators were punished - mostly for failing to present their driver's licence (37 per cent) followed by riders not wearing helmets, at 9 per cent.

The Road Safety Centre had set targets to reduce road accidents to 4,133, deaths to 413 and injuries to 4,568 over the seven-day period from December 28 to January 3.

The period is notorious for accidents and congestion on highways, especially to the North and Northeast, as hundreds of thousands of New Year celebrants travel back to their home provinces or leave for holidays upcountry before returning to Bangkok.

As many accidents involved reckless overloading of modified pick-up trucks, authorities will strictly ban such vehicles on highways during the April 2008 Songkran holiday period, Banyat said.

The information learnt from this New Year break would be used as a guideline for the authorities' road accident analysis, which should be concluded within a month, he said. The results will then would be used to improve the authorities' work to tackle road accidents during Songkran.

The Nation

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