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Songkran Road accidents, injuries rising

Drink driving and speeding are being blamed as the major causes as the tally of road accidents, injuries and deaths continues to climb through the Songkran holiday.

On Wednesday, there were 331 accidents across the country, up from 301 on Tuesday and 237 a day earlier, according to figures released on Thursday by the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

There were  323 people injured in road accidents on Wednesday, an increase from 292 on Tuesday and 238 on Monday. But the death toll dropped to 40 from 47 on Tuesday, but was  26 on Monday.

Drink driving and driving over the speed limit were still cited as the main causes of accidents.

The so-called seven dangerous days of the Songkran road safety campaign began on Monday, as travellers left major population centres for vacations or home visits during the Songkran festival, which ends on Sunday.

Police said earlier that 1,937 checkpoints were set up for for strict traffic law enforcement and 1,430 for alcohol checks, with about 80,000 officers on duty across all departments.

In the first three days, there were 869 accidents, 113 accident-related deaths and 835 injuries reported.

Khon Kaen and Nakon Si Thammarat had reported the most accidents, at 33 each, while the southern province also led in total injuries, at 36. Samut Sakhon had the most road deaths from Monday-Wednesday, with six.

Department director-general Boontham Lertsukheekasem said on Thursday that attention was being shifted to bringing down road accidents on secondary routes, as most travellers had now reached home or tourist destinations.

He expected small roads would see more accidents until people were heading back at the  end of the holiday.

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