WORD ON THAILAND: Thailand’s prime minister has urged the general public to obey traffic regulations for safe travels as more than 360 people are reported killed in road accidents across the country during the new year holiday.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked road users to be considerate to others, refrain from driving while feeling drowsy or under the influence of alcohol in order to travel home safely.
So far, 367 people have died in five days on Thailand’s roads, during the 2016-2017 new year holiday, according to national news sources, exceeding last year’s road fatalities during the same “seven days of danger” period last year (2015), during which 341 people were reported killed and 3,117 injured on the roads – a drop of 7% compared to the previous year.
However, on Jan 4, 2017, a total of 3,342 injuries in road accidents have been reported.
An estimated 30% of road accidents are blamed on drunk driving with more than 20% of those involving people under 20 years old.
In 2015, the United Nations reported that Thailand’s roads are the second deadliest in the world, after Libya, with 14,059 reported road-deaths per year – 70% of them involving motorcycles.
More fatalities are feared as people return to work from their home provinces over the next few days.
Meanwhile, according to the National News Bureau of Thailand, the government plans to allocate 895 billion baht (23,945,249,771 euro) for the expansion of land, water, and air transport infrastructure, while a new ferry service from Hua Hin to Pattaya is being tested for free between January 1 and 15.
Prime Minister’s Office Spokesperson Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the government will push for 36 transportation programs this year in order to spur economic growth and provide convenience among commuters.