Screening for drunk driving to reduce new year holiday road deaths

PHOTO: Authorities want to cut down on drunk driving over New Year's. (via Affordable Defences)

Drunk driving is a fairly constant problem in Thailand, like many other places worldwide. It’s so prevalent during the holiday season, that Phuket holds an annual road safety campaign known as ‘Seven Days of Danger.’ The campaign is held around the new year holiday from December 29 to January 4. The government announced new strict screening of drivers over the holiday period in an attempt to reduce the number of road deaths.

The Ministry of Interior and the police are under orders to check drivers to make sure they are following all traffic laws and not under the influence of alcohol, according to a deputy government spokesperson. The government has vowed to punish anyone caught driving drunk or violating the law.

Last year, the dangerous new year holiday week brought with it 333 road deaths and 2,672 people injured in a total of 2,707 traffic accidents. The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation released data that showed 29.51% of those accidents involved alcohol and drunk driving. The Court of Justice said that as many as 15,000 people were cited for drunk driving during the last new year holidays.

Government officials, including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, stated that they expect a considerable increase in people travelling out of the city now that Covid-19 restrictions have all been lifted. They fear that with the increased number of travellers there will be an increase in accidents, drunk driving incidents, and road deaths.

The prime minister went further than reactive measures and asked local officials to create a plan to try to limit or control how much booze people drink over the holiday. They plan on inspecting venues that are selling alcohol to patrons. Bars and nightlife entertainment venues will be scrutinized to make sure that they are closing at the correct legal time, and not selling alcohol to underage drinkers.

According to Nation Thailand, the government spokesperson said that anyone caught and cited for drunk driving will be sent to rehabilitation centres after the new year holiday.

Road deathsThailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.