Road safety concerns rise as upcountry travel surges for Songkran

Picture courtesy of Stay in Thailand

Amid the forthcoming Songkran holiday, a surge in upcountry travel has sparked apprehension among road safety champions, who fear a rise in road mishaps outside the designated seven dangerous days of travelling. The seven dangerous days were initiated today and will conclude on April 17, and it is during these days that the highest incidents of road accidents are expected.

Assistant National Police Chief Kornchai Klayklueng revealed that the Royal Thai Police (RTP) aims to reduce road accidents by 5% during these seven days. The RTP is preparing for a 3.1% surge in travellers compared to the previous year’s holiday. They forecast the peak travel days to be today and tomorrow, with most departures from Bangkok and the busiest return dates being April 16-17.

In a bid to manage the situation, the RTP has established an Accident Control Operation Centre for this year’s Songkran. This will enhance law enforcement and introduce additional safety measures for drivers.

Kornchai also advised those using electric vehicles to arrange for a charging station stopover before their battery depletes due to potential traffic delays. To assist electric vehicle users, the Highway Police has mapped out a network of charging stations, he added.

However, Nikorn Jamnong, the director of the Chartthaipattana Party and president of the People’s Safety Foundation, expressed concern about an uptick in accidents before and after the seven dangerous days. He revealed that 60 fatalities were reported on Wednesday, a stark increase from last year’s 30 deaths during the same period. Out of these, 50 were motorcycle fatalities, including four expats.

Considering the 4,207 road fatalities reported in the first quarter of the year, Jamnong stressed the need for authorities to extend their road safety efforts beyond just the Songkran holiday dates.

Echoing similar sentiments, Prommin Kantiya, director of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation’s Accident Prevention Network, noted that some people have prolonged their holiday until April 21. This could potentially lead to a longer period of heavy road usage in the country, thereby intensifying the risk of accidents, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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