brad brace contemporary culture scrapbook

April 9, 2006

Thailand’s traditional new year death toll continues to rise

Filed under: thailand — admin @ 3:38 pm

BANGKOK, April 9 (Xinhua) — Road accidents during the Thai traditional New Year “Songkran” holidays claimed 68 lives on Friday and Saturday, while the number of injured stood at 810, according to local media reports on Sunday.

Songkran, Thailand’s traditional “water festival”, is a time of traditional festivity and celebration which is now characterized by long journeys back to hometowns and too much consumption of alcohol, in tandem with driving, the reports said.

The long Songkran holiday is notorious for its high casualties from road accidents as a large number of Thais, particularly those who work in the capital, Bangkok, usually travel to reunite with their families upcountry to celebrate the water festival, the reports added.

Caretaker Interior Minister Kongsak Wanthana said on Sunday that the number of deaths from road accidents on Saturday stood at 38, bringing the death toll in two days since Friday to 68, while the number of injuries reached 496. There were a total of 731 road accidents, including 445 accidents on Saturday.

Motorcycles were involved in most road accidents, followed by pick-up trucks and passenger cars.

According to the Thai police, this year’s “crisis period” is April 7-16 when all agencies concerned have to work with full commitment to achieve the target by reducing the road deaths to less than 506 deaths and 6,194 injuries, or a drop of at least 15 percent compared to last year.

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