Roads still packed as accidents and fatalities rise.

With the New Year traffic rush in full swing, police report a sharp rise in accidents and fatalities on the first day of the holidays.

Thursday saw 524 road accidents, resulting in 42 deaths and 565 people injured – a marked increase from the same day last year when 439 accidents claimed 39 lives and injured 456.

The main causes of accidents were drunk driving and speeding.

Chiang Mai reported the most accidents at 21; Pathum Thani suffered the most fatalities with four deaths, and Udon Thani and Phitsanulok had most casualties with 23 each.

Reporting that most accidents involved motorcycles (83 per cent) and about 58 per cent of the accidents happened on a straight section of road. Most accidents occurred on highways (38 per cent) and tambon or village roads (32 per cent).

Over a third (35 per cent) of accidents took place between 4pm and 8pm and more than half (53 per cent) of victims were of working age. The 2,016 checkpoints manned by 63,864 officers arrested 85,079 law-violating motorists, mostly for failing to show a driver’s licence (25,082) and failing to wear a helmet (24,019).

The authorities on Thursday prosecuted 500 violators of the holiday drink-driving ban. 21 motorcycles and six cars were impounded, while driver’s licences from 62 motorcyclists and 25 personal car/public transport drivers were seized.

Yesterday, roads were crammed throughout the country as motorists continued to make their way to home cities, towns and villages.

(Source: The Nation, Thailand)

By Juninho