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Songkran and the ‘seven deadly days’

About 80,000 police will be on duty throughout the country for Songkran, with the emphasis on directing traffic, reducing road accidents and crime suppression, deputy police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas said on Friday.

“Pol Gen Damrongsak was speaking after opening this year’s police centre for the prevention and reduction of road accidents during Songkran.

The centre will operate from April 10-18, with special emphasis during the annual “seven deadly days”, this year April 12-18.

Pol Gen Preecha Charoensahayanond, a special adviser, and Pol Lt Gen Prachuab Wongsuk, an assistant police chief, will be on deck from April 12-18 to study daily situation reports and order action as necessary.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said about 80,000 police will be deployed. Of these, 18,371 will be enforcing traffic laws and regulations, 12,139 will be doing alcohol checks and 9,670 will form rapid mobile teams for emergency response to accidents.

The rest will be assigned for patrol work, investigation, administration, crime suppression and public services throughout the period.

There will be no days off.

Areas where road repairs and construction are being carried out are to be cleared to facilitate traffic flow. Police will man spots with traffic problems, including tourist attractions.

Trucks with 10 wheels or more will be prohibited from using some roads. Operators of those carrying essential goods such as fuel and fresh food could get permission to use the roads by applying online through website www.hwpdth.com.

For prevention and reduction of accidents, a public relations campaign will target groups of people considered prone to causing accidents. There will be 1,937 checkpoints for strict traffic law enforcement and 1,430 for alcohol checks, Pol Gen Damrongsak said.

Since April 4, 1,903 traffic patrol teams had been taking action against motorists breaking traffic laws. They would be particularly tough against violators during the seven deadly days.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said the goal is for every province to reduce the number of accidents, deaths and injuries by at least 5% from the average during Songkran for the past three years.

Motorists were advised to observe speed limits and traffic signs and not drive against the traffic flow – and no dangerous overtaking.

They must carry their driver’s licence and ensure seat belts are fastened. Drink driving and talking on a mobile phone while driving were strictly prohibited.

Motorcyclists must wear a safety helmet and their motorcycles must meet safety standards, Pol Gen Damrongsak said.

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