PHUKET: Three people were killed on Phuket roads from December 29-January 4, the same as over last year’s holiday period, despite a marked increase in the number of police checkpoints and arrests for drunk driving. There was, however, a dramatic decrease in the number of injuries recorded. Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura this morning told the Gazette that all three victims were riding motorcycles. “Two victims died in separate accidents because they were drunk and not wearing helmets,” he said. “The third one, 19-year-old pizza delivery boy Isamaahl Hayimad, was in complete compliance with the law when two pick-up trucks driven by drunks collided. One of the vehicles then ran into him,” he explained. According to reports, the impact of the head-on collision was so hard that the boy was almost decapitated. He was returning to the shop after delivering a pizza to Koh Kaew when the accident occurred, north of the Tesco-Lotus supercenter on the bypass road. Although the number of deaths was the same as over the 2002-2003 New Year period, the number of injuries decreased from 408 to 119. Gov Udomsak attributed this dramatic reduction to an increased police presence. This was the first year that Thai police manning checkpoints were equipped with “breath analyzer” devices to aid in their crackdown against drunk drivers. “Police set up checkpoints in many areas throughout Phuket. They stopped 43,000 vehicles and 2,400 people were charged with violations,” he said. The Governor noted that most road fatalities involved motorcycles, pointing out that of the 176 people killed on Phuket roads between January 1-November 30 last year, 165 were riding motorcycles .He added that the campaign to improve road safety would continue this year.
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