AT least 82 people have died in road accidents during the first two days of Thailand’s Songkran festival which began on Tuesday, local media reported.
According to Bangkok Post, a total of 995 accidents, resulting in 1,049 injuries, occurred in the first two of the so-called “seven dangerous days”.
The government’s Public Health Ministry Deputy Permanent Secretary, Swanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, said while the number of accidents and injuries was higher than in the same period last year, the death toll has dropped from 116 for the corresponding period.
Authorities also seized 433 motorcycles and impounded 102 private and public vehicles since the government launched the road safety campaign in conjunction with the festive season.
National Council for Peace and Order spokeswoman Sirichan Ngathong was quoted as saying the authorities seized the vehicles after finding the drivers with blood alcohol levels in excess of 0.5.
The vehicles, she said, would be impounded at a military camp for at least seven days.
Col Sirichan said 32,782 motorcyclists were stopped for traffic law violations on Wednesday and about 30,071 would face legal action.
Also on Wednesday, she said 227,337 drivers of public and private cares violated serious traffic laws, 25,549 of which would face legal action.
Last year, the week-long Songkran festival saw a total number of 442 road deaths, the highest level recorded over the seven-day period since 2006.
Known as the seven most dangerous days of the Thai calendar year, last year’s festive season resulted in 3,446 road accidents, with a ratio of 8 people injured for every one person dead.
In previous years, authorities found that drunk driving was the main cause of the accidents followed by speeding. Most accidents typically involved motorcycles and pickup trucks.
Every year, the government launches a road safety campaign aimed at reducing accidents during the festive season. The campaign involves provincial and local administrators who are instructed to strengthen measures introduced by the National Council for Peace and Order aimed at clamping down on reckless driving, speeding, and drunk driving.