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39 deaths on first of New Year's '7 dangerous days' in Thailand
Publication Date : 29-12-2013
A total of 39 people were killed and 399 others injured in road accidents on Saturday, the first day of the so-called "seven dangerous days" of the New Year holiday period, the Thailand Road Safety Centre announced.
With drunk driving considered the cause of most accidents, provincial authorities set up checkpoints to screen drivers, including those responsible for public transport.
Transport Ministry inspector-general Chanchai Suwisuthakul said the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department's figures showed the numbers had increased from first-day figures last year, when 32 people were killed and 321 injured in 313 road accidents.
The major causes of accidents this year was drunk-driving, at 30 per cent, followed by speeding, at 23 per cent.
Of the accidents which occurred, 82 per cent involved motorcycles and 7 per cent involved pick-up trucks.
Some 2,200 checkpoints were manned by 62,780 officials around the country, with 73,944 violations recorded. Nearly 22,000 drivers failed to produce a licence and a similar number - 21,682 - motorcyclists were stopped for riding without helmets.
The highest number of accidents occurred in Phitsanulok and Samut Sakhon, with each recording 20, while the provinces with most deaths were Pathum Thani, Prachin Buri and Surat Thani, with three deaths each. Phitsanulok recorded the most injuries, at 23.
Roads to the Northeast and the North were congested on Saturday and bus stations were crowded, as people headed home for the New Year break.
Nakhon Ratchasima's Mitraparp Highway was paralysed with 10km-long tailbacks, forcing police to open special lanes and detours.
In Sa Kaew's Ta Phraya district an accident at 1am added to the traffic, with tailbacks of 5km to 10km. The accident was caused by a container lorry, which collided with another 10 vehicles in the opposite lane after its breaks failed.
Six people were slightly injured in the accident, the Ta Phraya police chief said.
The lorry driver reportedly fled the scene. Other vehicles involved in the incident included two vans, three pickups, three sedans, and a six-wheel truck.
The road eventually re-opened at 3pm after police investigations of the crash site were done, police said.
Caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt urged Land Transport chief Asdsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket to put up signs warning motorists about accident-prone spots nationwide.
His comments followed an accident on Thursday in which 29 passengers died after the bus they were on skidded off a bridge and plunged 50 metres, killing 29 and seriously injuring four, in Phetchabun’s Lom Sak district.