174 die, 1,728 hurt on roads in first 3 days of Songkran

The wrecked motorcycle of Chaliaw Singwong, 57, rests on Nang Rong-Pakham Road in tambon Sadao of Nang Rong district, Buri Ram, after being hit by a big bike on Saturday. Chaliaw was killed and the Cambodian big bike rider, Dam Soban, 27, was seriously injured. The crash added to the traffic accident statistics during the dangerous Songkran travel week. (Photo by Pikool Kaewhawong)

The first three days of the danger-prone Songkran travel week saw 1,665 traffic accidents, with 174 deaths and 1,728 people injured -- a significant drop from last year's road toll and lower than Thailand's average number of road deaths throughout the year, according to World Health Organization figures.

The figures were released on Sunday from the government's Road Safety Directing Center, and covered the period from April 11 to 13. Compared to 2018, the number of traffic accidents dropped 9.71%, the death toll fell 17.14% and the number of injuries was down 9.48%.

Nakhon Si Thammarat province showed the highest number of traffic accidents -- 69 -- followed by Chiang Mai (58) and Sakon Nakhon (53).

Udon Thani recorded the highest number of fatalities -- 10 -- followed by nine deaths in Nakhon Ratchasima and seven in Lop Buri.

The number of people injured peaked at 69 in Nakhon Si Thammarat, followed by 62 in Sakon Nakhon and 60 in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Drink-driving remained the most common cause of accidents in the three-day period -- 38.08% -- followed by speeding (27.51%) and cutting in front of other vehicles (17.24%). Motorcycles were involved in 79.65% of the accidents.

Early evening was the most dangerous time on Thai roads during the period, with 30.03% of the accidents occurring between 4pm and 8pm, followed by from noon to 4pm (20.42%), 8pm to midnight (15.92%), 8am to noon (15.50%) and midnight to 4am (11.17%).

Officials pulled over 2.62 million vehicles for breath tests and other examinations at nationwide checkpoints, 15.06% more than during the same period last year.

According to the World Health Organization, on average 66 people die on Thailand's roads each day -- meaning that if the statistics can be directly compared, the first three days of Songkran were actually safer than on an average day. 


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