New Year Road Mishaps Kill 314 in Thailand
    2012-01-04 17:25:43     Xinhua       Web Editor: Guo
Road accidents surged in Thailand around the New Year Festival and killed 314 people in six days, the country's Road Safety Centre said Wednesday.

Another 3,116 people were injured in 2,856 road accidents from last Thursday to Tuesday, the center added. The few days around the New Year is a particularly dangerous period for drivers in Thailand when hundreds of people die in the yearly surge of road accidents.

On New Year's Day alone, 76 people were killed and 600 injured in 562 accidents. The numbers showed improvement from last year's Jan. 1 when 83 people were killed in 777 accidents.

Roads to Bangkok were heavily congested Tuesday, the last of the New Year holidays, when people flocked to the capital for work. Thai traffic authorities stepped up monitoring on main roads to stop drunk, speeding or sleepy drivers and facilitate the flow of traffic.

About 70,000 officers at 2,468 checkpoints had stopped 724,752 vehicles and arrested 95,822 offenders, with 30,326 motor cyclists failing to wear helmets and 27,764 failing to produce the driver's license, Silapachai Jarukasemrattana, deputy permanent secretary for the Transport Ministry, said.

Still, 312 accidents occurred Tuesday, killing 32 people and injuring 333 others. Drunk driving was blamed for 32.9 percent of accidents around the New Year, and speeding 20.7 per cent. More than 80 percent of the accidents involved motorcycles.

The northern province of Chiang Rai reported 95 accidents on Tuesday, the highest among Thailand's 76 provinces while the Buri Ram in the east had the highest fatalities with 16 people killed in road accidents.

Speeding, dozing behind the wheel, failing to wear helmets, riding on the back of trucks and failing to fasten seat belts were important factors leading to crashes, said Wibul Sanguanpong, head of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.
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