Road accident death toll hits 335 on last day of New Year ‘high risk travel week’

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BANGKOK, Jan 5 – Thailand’s death toll from road accidents nationwide during the 2012 New Year’s celebration week has risen to 335, but still well below that of last year’s 358 fatalities, while the number of injuries reached 3,345 persons on the last day of the “seven high risk travel days.”

Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister Yongyuth Vichaidit said in his capacity as director of the road safety administrative centre that as of Wednesday, the last day of the government’s “Seven High Risk Travel Days” campaign, 335 deaths had been reported, a 6.42 per cent decrease from last year’s statistics.

The injured were recorded at 3,375 persons, a 10 per cent drop from last year while the total number of accidents amounted to 3,093 cases, 11.55 per cent less than last year.

Mr Yongyuth said Chiang Rai recorded the highest number of accidents at 115 incidents, while Nakhon Sawan and Buri Ram had the highest death toll at 18 persons each.

Ten provinces, however, recorded no deaths from road accidents: Sukhothai, Tak, Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Si Sa Ket, Nonthaburi, Trat, Satun, Yala and Pattani.

The causes of road accidents were contributed to drunken driving and speeding. Most accidents involved motorcycles and pickup trucks between 4pm and 8pm.

Most of the dead and injured were of working age.

The interior minister said the number of casualties has dropped from last year but the number of major accidents is likely to rise due to speeding, fatigue of drivers, riding without a helmet and passengers not fastening seat belts or sitting in the open rear of pick-up trucks.

Mr Yongyuth said he would ask concerned agencies to come up with measures to efficiently enforce the traffic law on drunk driving, the use of helmets and speeding.

The government launched its “Seven High Risk Travel Days” campaign from Dec 29-Jan 4 in a bid to reduce road accidents over the long holiday. The campaign is aimed at cutting casualties among New Year revellers.