Tougher enforcement and safety measures ‘cut road fatalities’
ROAD ACCIDENTS during the Songkran holidays rose in number this year but proved less deadly due to safety precautions.
The death toll from road accidents during the so-called seven dangerous days of 2017 Songkran stood at 390 – down from 442 during the same period a year earlier.
The decline occurred despite 3,690 road accidents between April 11 and April 17 this year – up by 7 per cent from the 2016 Songkran holidays.
Grisada Boonrach, deputy chairman of the Road Safety Directing Centre, attributed the lower death toll to stricter enforcement of traffic laws and safety measures. Ahead of the Songkran Festival, authorities warned travellers against sitting in the beds of pickups and passengers in rear seats were told to wear seat belts.
“Such safety precautions lowered the number of deaths,” Grisada said.
However, he said he was disappointed that the number of road accidents went up as did the number of injured people. As many as 3,808 people were injured in road accidents this year. The figure marked a 4-per-cent hike from 2016.
Drink driving was again the biggest cause of accidents, accounting for 43 per cent of all road accidents.
Other common causes were speeding and abrupt overtaking, accounting for 28 per cent and nearly 15 per cent of road accidents respectively.
In a separate interview, Dr Thanapong Jinvong of the Road Safety Policy Foundation agreed that the percentage of deaths in road accidents had been significantly reduced during the 2017 |holidays because of stricter law enforcement and heightened |safety precautions.
He called on authorities to strictly enforce traffic laws beyond the Songkran period to reduce the road death toll in the country.
Thanapong also urged other organisations and the public to help promote road safety.
Year-long moves planned
“State organisations, for example, may deny services to people if they come in on motorcycles without a helmet on,” he said.
Thanapong said the Excise Department should be cautious about granting permits for organisers of entertainment events where alcoholic drinks are served, because alcohol consumption was a major cause of road accidents.
He said if police recorded the cause of deaths from road accidents throughout the year, and not just during long holidays, it would become clearer how drink driving and the failure to comply with basic laws such as wearing seat belts claimed so many lives.
Thanapong said he expected the public to step up social pressure on traffic-law offenders so that road safety in the country could improve.
Grisada said the government planned to campaign against drunk driving and promote safety precautions throughout the year, in collaboration with various |agencies.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed relevant authorities to take legal action against women who performed erotic dances and bared their breasts during the Songkran celebrations.
“How can they have no shame and no fear? Our society can’t go on with this,” he said.
Source: The Nation