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Government considers blanket alcohol bans on April 13

Tanutam Thawan

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There’s a 24 hour ban on alcohol on the weekend preceding AND the actual election weekend this month. And next month is Songkran with the Government mooting possible blanket bans on Songkran day, April 13.

This year the Government says they want an alcohol ban on the biggest annual holiday for Thais. It’s also part of the week when there is a huge rise in road accidents and road-related deaths each year.

The Department of Disease Control is lobbying the government to suspend alcohol sales from April 13, the actual Thai new Year day, in an effort to reduce the annual road carnage.

The department’s deputy director says the agency will formally submit the proposal to the cabinet next week.

The department cites the annual figures for Songkran, saying that most drink/drive cases take place April 13, the first day of the New Year festivities. The department is dismissing concerns the measure could damage the economy, which depends heavily on tourists and revellers, saying that saving lives is paramount.

“The economy doesn’t rely on a single day,” according to the department’s deputy director.

Government agencies traditionally roll out their ‘seven dangerous days campaign’ each Songkran, setting up checkpoints along major roadways and arterials, cracking down on drink/driving and speeding and, generally, huffing and puffing about the need to curb the toll. But none of the campaigns in the past have done anything to stem the tide of a rising road toll each year.

Last year the government even speculated a total ban on allowing people to ride in the back of pick-ups during Songkran – a move that was quickly quashed by an outcry on social media.

There is already a raft of measures to precent the consumption of alcohol during Songkran, such as banning sales of alcohol at popular locations for water fights. These prohibitions have been widely ignored with little enforcement.

Government considers blanket alcohol bans on April 13 | News by Thaiger

 

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