Province unveils Songkran safety strategy

PHUKET CITY: As in years past, the provincial government is advising the public on how to safely enjoy the upcoming Songkran Festival – and warning people who endanger others that they risk fines or arrest.

At a meeting chaired by Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop at Phuket Provincial Hall on Thursday, the Governor called on police and some 50 representatives of local government administration organizations to establish a network of “One Tambon One Search and Rescue Team”, or OTOS units, around the island from April 9 to 16.

Water play will be permitted in public areas, except along roadsides with heavy traffic flow.

Those who want to engage in water play are encouraged do so in designated zones in the following locales: Saphan Hin, Rawai Beach, Laem Phromthep, Nai Yang Beach, Surin Beach, Patong Beach.

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To keep the road accident toll to a minimum, a provincial road safety center coordinated by the Department of Disaster Prevention & Mitigation (DDPM-Phuket) will work with 26 different government agencies and private sector groups throughout the period.

Water used for splashing or spraying must not be mixed with perfume, face powder, flour or other substances and must be in accordance with all public safety laws.

Also prohibited along main roads will be consumption of alcohol, impeding traffic flow, excessive noise making and disturbing the peace. Violators will be subject to Bt500 fines.

Operators of trucks transporting water causing dangerous road conditions or pollution are also subject to Bt500 fines.

Those caught driving under the influence of alcohol (>.0.05% blood alcohol level) or illegal substances will face a jail term of three months or a fine of 10,000 baht, or both.

Those caught riding a motorbike without a helmet will face a Bt500 fine, as will car drivers or front seat passengers not wearing a safety belt.

Those caught operating a motor vehicle without a valid license will be fined Bt1,000.

Operators of trucks carrying water and throwing at other moving vehicles face a 1,000 baht fine.

Women should dress modestly, in clothes that are not too revealing or provocative.

Those using the festivities to engage in inappropriate behaviour towards women or children will be prosecuted under the law with 1,000 baht fines for sexual harassment and much stiffer penalties for infractions against minors and children under 15, Gov Wichai said..

Police road checkpoints will be established in the following areas:

Muang district: Thepkrasattri Rd; Wichit Songkraam Rd (Surakul Stadium); Chao Fa West Rd.

Thalang district: Heroines Monument; Cherng Talay junction; Tah Chat Chai.

Kathu District: Phra Barami Rd (near the Caltex station); Patong Hill; Phuket FantaSea in Kamala.

Phuket residents leaving the island for the holidays were encouraged to contact their local police stations or dial 1784 to receive information on special security patrols.

Phuket News
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