The increased traffic following Thailand’s Songkran festival is a boon to anyone operating a bus to Bangkok from Chiang Mai, but it’s also risky, as the increased traffic has a proportionate increase in the chances of accidents occurring, so much so that the time period around the Songkran is considered as the seven dangerous Songkran days.
Thailand’s Road Safety Centre released some troubling news regarding the Songkran days, reporting that, within the first four days of Songkran period, the country’s roads had already seen more injuries and death compared to the same time period last year. 2017 recorded 226 deaths and 2,457 injuries across 2,385 road accidents during the first four days of the Songkran period, whilst 2018 saw 248 deaths and 2,557 injuries across 2,449 accidents in the same timespan.
Notably, the Saturday of April 14 accounted for 57 deaths and 626 injuries across 603 accidents. 44% of these accidents were reported to be due to drunk driving, 26% from speeding. The majority of these crashes, about 80%, involved motorcycles according to the RSC.
Sadly, it was Chiang Mai province that saw the most accidents within the four days, with 99 of them happening across the region, injuring 109 people.NakhonRatchasima, meanwhile reported the most fatalities, numbering in 17. Eight provinces, however, managed to avoid fatal injuries during Songkran;Angthong, Lop Buri, SamutSongkhram, Satun, Nong Bua Lamphu, Ranong and Yala.
In anticipation of the increased traffic of travellers taking the bus to Bangkok from Chiang Mai, the RSC increased security on highway checkpoints, roadside service points, and pit stops. Meanwhile, the National Council for Peace and Order and Army reported that authorities had seized 7,067 from their drunk operators within the first four days of Songkran.
The Transport Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith inspected the Doi Ruak hill area located along the stretch of Highway No. 12 (Tak-Mae Sot) near Tak’s borders, as part of road safety efforts across the country. That particular stretch of asphalt has already been witness to three major crashes within the first two weeks of April, which resulted in 27 deaths. The Transport Minister has been visiting some of Thailand’s most accident-prone areas, and said that the Highway Department were already taking steps to increase road safety.