Police determined to reduce road fatalities. (Photo The Nation,Thailand)

As many holidaymakers started their journeys to hometowns along congested highways across the country yesterday, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda presided over the launch of a road-safety centre in Bangkok that aims to solve traffic problems and prevent road fatalities during the New Year holiday period.

Local administrative organisations were instructed to repair roadways that are known to be accident-prone. Officials were also told to ensure public transport buses and vans were safe.

 Provinces and local agencies were told to strictly enforce traffic laws, set up road checkpoints to arrest drunk drivers and speeding motorists, and arrange pit stops for drivers on long trips.

Provinces with water attractions or with rivers or canals were to ensure safety at piers and in public transport boats.

The New Year 2016 holiday period saw 3,379 road accidents that killed 380 people and injured 3,505, compared to the previous period’s 2,997 accidents with 341 deaths and 3,117 injuries. The main causes of accidents were drunk driving (26%) and speeding (17%).

During the New Year 2016 holiday period, Chiang Mai province had the most accidents and the highest number of injuries while Nakhon Ratchasima suffered the most deaths.

A 20-kilometre-long stretch of highway in Khao Chong Tako in Sa Kaew’s Ta Phraya district was congested from about 1am to 4am yesterday, as people travelled to the lower Northeast region. Police, the Army and local administrators set up checkpoints and pit stops along the route.

A similar situation was reported on Mitraparp Highway in Nakhon Ratchasima province, known as a gateway to the Northeast. A special lane was added to a 20km-long section of the highway from Sara Buri’s Khaeng Khoi district to Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district and another at a 7km-long section in Muang Nakhon Ratchasima. Highway No 304 in Prachin Buri’s Kabin Buri district was also congested.

In Pathum Thani’s Sam Khok district, vocational students are providing a free car and motorbike repair and maintenance service to holidaymakers until Wednesday at the Cosmo Oil gas station on Kanchanapisek 9 western ring road heading towards Ayutthaya’s Bang Pa-in district.

Pathum Thani Technical College director Kwanchai Panichakan said students wearing orange vests would also provide free services at pit stops on the highway in the province.

The Buriram Times wishes all our readers a very happy and safe New Year.

(Source: The Nation, Thailand)

By Juninho