PHUKET: An increased police presence on Phuket’s roads has been credited for a dramatic drop in the usual motorcycle mayhem during the July-August period. Nine people died in motorcycle incidents between July 20 and August 20 – well down on the 14 deaths during the preceding period and a huge drop on the 26 motorcycle deaths in April-May. Ampaipan Pawawattananusorn, of the Phuket Provincial Health Office, where the statistics are compiled, attributed the drop to the large number of police on the roads. “During the [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] meetings, police increased security,” she said. “There were also more police checkpoints, encouraging motorcyclists to wear helmets and keep their headlamps on for safety during the day.” Figures provided by the three government hospitals also showed that there were two deaths in car smashes, taking the car-related toll for the year to four. Despite the lower figures for July-August, there have been 131 deaths in all types of road incidents so far this year, compared with 121 deaths in the same period of 2002. However, road injuries in the year so far have fallen, from 8,714 in the same period last year to 7,141 people this year.
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