Thai children (L) splash water on a foreign tourist as they take part in water battles to celebrate Songkran festival for the Thai New Year at Khao San road in Bangkok. (AFP/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL)
BANGKOK: Road accidents have killed 39 people and injured 402 others on Friday -- the first day of the seven-day campaign to reduce road accidents throughout Thailand -- as people celebrate the annual Songkran festival or Thailand's traditional New Year, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.
Quoting statistics compiled by the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Deputy Permanent Secretary Theerapong Rodprasert of the Transport Ministry, told a press conference that there were a total of 379 road accidents nationwide on Friday, an increase of 53 accidents from the corresponding period of 2013.
He said 39 people died from the road accidents, an equal amount of those who died last year, while 402 people were injured, up 60 from last year.
He added that 30.61 per cent of the accidents were due to drunken driving, followed by speeding at 21.64 per cent. Most of the accidents involved motorcycles.
Of the total casualties, the northernmost province of Chiang Rai recorded the most deaths.
Theerapong urged the relevant officials in every province to be on alert at checkpoints and to enforce strict traffic law to help reduce casualties from road accidents during the so-called seven dangerous days which began on Friday.