THE seven days before, during and after Thai new year are the deadliest of the year, seeing accident rates soar due to drunk driving and water hazards. This year, authorities are hoping their road safety campaign will curb some of the damage.
The graphic adverts shows revellers throwing water by the side of a road as they celebrate Songkran. The camera then pans to a horrific road accident and the group are seen trying to douse flames engulfing the vehicles.
This is one of several public service announcements being aired ahead of the new year holiday, when Thailand sees a spike in road deaths as many people exit cities bound for their homes in the countryside.
The so-called “Seven Deadly Days” began on Wednesday this year and will end on Tuesday.
The holiday is often referred to as the world’s biggest water fight, with revellers throwing water at passing cars and motorbikes that sometimes swerve to avoid getting doused.
Thailand’s roads rank among the world’s deadliest, according to the World Health Organization, and there has been little improvement despite safety campaigns over the years.
On Tuesday, six migrant workers from Burma were killed when their double-decker bus crashed into a ditch near the border town of Mae Sot, the second fatal accident in as many weeks involving migrants.
Thailand’s transport ministry said it aimed to reduce the number of road accidents by 7 percent during this Songkran festival but emergency responders doubt the latest safety campaign will have much impact.
“These campaigns are quite isolated and mostly for show only,” said Marko Cunningham from the Bangkok Free Ambulance Service, a volunteer ambulance organization.
“Thai people know the laws and yet continue to break them,” he said. “I have always said the main problem lies with enforcement.”
Additional reporting by Reuters