320 killed on highways in seven days of Songkran


BANGKOK, April 18— Thailand’s death toll from road accidents nationwide during Thailand’s traditional week-long Songkran new year reached 320 with the number of injuries at 3,320 persons, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

During seven days of the Songkran holiday from April 11-17, 320 deaths were reported, rising by 49 persons compared to the same period last year, Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister Yongyuth Vichaidit told a news briefing on Wednesday in his capacity as director of the Road Safety Centre.

There were 3,129 accidents in total.

The deputy premier said that the northernmost province of Chiang Rai recorded the highest number of accidents at 125 and the highest number of casualties at 124.

Meanwhile, the southern province of Surat Thani had the highest death tally at 13 persons.

However, six provinces, including Nakhon Phanom, Trat, Trang, Pattani, Ranong and Satun, recorded no deaths from road accidents.

The major cause of accidents was attriibuted to drunken driving, followed by speeding, Mr Yongyuth explained.

He said that the road safety centre would compile the 7-day road accident statistics and provide suggestions to report to the Cabinet later and coordinate with concerned agencies to come up with measures and plans, aiming to reduce the number of deaths and injuries to zero.

In an attempt to cut the number of traffic accidents and casualties to the lowest levels possible, the government launched its campaign during the “Seven Dangerous Days” beginning April 11 through 17 to raise awareness among motorists to drive more carefully during Thailand’s traditional new year.