Bangkok: Thai authorities adopted harsh measures to tackle drink-driving but could not control the traffic fatalities during New Year holidays.
Thai army leaders introduced new law to put brakes on the traffic accidents. About 340 deaths have been reported over six out of seven days designated as a period for campaigning to reduce road tragedies. The local security forces seized 4,050 vehicles including 3,000 motorcycles from drink-drivers since Christmas.
From December 29 until January 3, more than 3,000 accidents occurred nationwide as compared to 2,700 during the same period in 2015. It is estimated that the number of people traveling by road this New Year period surged to 3 million from only about 1 million in 2015. Last year, the Southeast Asian nation recorded 341 deaths during the so-called “seven dangerous days”.
On Monday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha admitted that the tough measures have failed to bring down the number of road accidents. It is believed that three most common factors attributed to high rate of road accidents over the seven-day New Year period: drink-driving, speeding and falling asleep at the wheel during long journeys.
National police spokesman Detnarong Suthichanbancha said the lessons learned from the junta’s implementation of the vehicle seizure measure would be reviewed before possibly adopting it during the Songkran festival in April.
“The introduction of this measure was successful in terms of raising public awareness by more than 70 percent about the dangers of drink-driving,” said Thaejing Siripanich, secretary-general of the Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation.
“The government should never give up and should continue enforcing the measure throughout the year for a better outcome,” he added.
Thailand has the world’s second-highesr number of deaths from road mishaps after Libya, with a death rate of 36.2 per 100,000 population. The global average is 17. IMAGE/Pattanapong Hirunard/Bangkokpost