An estimated 80,000 police officers will be deployed around the country to prevent road accidents and help drivers during next April’s Songkran holiday.
The major operation reflects the government’s determination to reduce Songkran accidents and casualties by at least 5% compared with the three-year average of 3,405 accidents and 378 deaths from 2017-2019.
Moreover, the government is confident the target will be reached because it has already declared a continuation of the nationwide state of emergency to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year’s Songkran road death toll fell significantly from 386 in 2019 and 418 in 2018, because the country was already under a state of emergency in the early days of the pandemic and travel was strictly controlled.
Deputy police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the officer in charge of traffic police, said yesterday that police commissioner-general Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk had ordered the setting-up of road accident prevention centres for this year’s festival, with a special focus on the seven days from 10th-16th April.
The high number of police officers deployed this year will be assigned to keep traffic moving smoothly, especially on roads used by people travelling back to their hometowns, and they will strictly enforce the law against offenders, the deputy police chief said.
Motorways such as the 20km section from Lam Takong to Si Khio in Nakhon Ratchasima will be open for a trial run during Songkran to make northeast-bound travel more convenient.
Police officers manning checkpoints have been told to record videos when gathering evidence of offences and to perform alcohol tests on all motorists involved in a road accident. Shops that sell alcohol to young people will also face legal action, said Pol Gen Kittiprapas.
A campaign to advise drivers about road safety awareness will begin several days before Songkran and will intensify during the seven-day “high risk” period from April 10th-16th when most people will be using the roads.