Songkran festival ends with 243 deaths in traffic accidents

Picture courtesy of Pattaya News

The six-day Songkran festival holiday in Thailand ended in tragedy as road accidents claimed the lives of 243 people and left 1,837 others injured. As announced by Education Minister Permpoon Chidchob on Wednesday, some 1,811 traffic accidents were recorded from April 11 to 16, coinciding with the period when many individuals travel back to their home provinces to join in the Songkran celebrations. Motorcycles were implicated in 84.9% of these traffic accidents.

Chiang Rai, the northernmost province, reported the highest number of accidents, with a total of 71, and also saw the most fatalities, with 15 deaths. In another northern province, Phrae, 68 people sustained injuries, the highest injury toll across all provinces. However, not all news was grim; there were nine provinces out of the total 77 that reported zero traffic fatalities during the Thai New Year festival, according to Permpoon.

On the final day of the road safety campaign, which was yesterday April 16, there were 242 traffic incidents, resulting in 32 deaths and 237 injuries. Speeding was identified as the leading cause of these accidents, accounting for 37.6%, while drink-driving (23.9%) and reckless lane-switching (21%) followed closely. Permpoon informed that most individuals who had travelled for Songkran had returned to work by this point.

In a separate statement, Ruangsak Suwaree, the Director-General of the Probation Department, revealed that there were 5,786 traffic violation cases from April 11 to 16. A vast majority of these, 96.6%, were drink-driving related. The most drink-driving cases were reported in Bangkok (493), with Samut Prakan (313) and Chiang Mai (302) trailing behind, reported Bangkok Post.

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Meanwhile, Phuket’s Seven Days safety campaign for Songkran 2024 continues to make its impact as the island remains free of any road fatalities since the start of the initiative on April 11. Over the past four days, 39 incidents have been recorded by officials, resulting in the same number of people being hospitalised due to injuries.

The report compiled by the Phuket branch of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM Phuket) revealed that on, April 15, the campaign’s fifth day, nine accidents occurred across the island, leading to nine injuries.

The breakdown of these incidents indicates two accidents each in Mueang District and Thalang District, with one individual injured in each, and six accidents in Kathu District, injuring six people.

Road deathsSongkran NewsThailand News

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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