Thailand enforces strict anti-drunk driving measures for Songkran

By VNA   March 12, 2024 | 07:29 pm PT
Thailand enforces strict anti-drunk driving measures for Songkran
People play with water guns during Songkran Water Festival to celebrate Thai New Year, in Bangkok, Thailand, April 14, 2019. Photo by Reuters
The Thai Government is making plans to curb drunk driving during the Songkran festival which will be extended to 21 days this year.

Following agreement at a meeting of the Alcoholic Beverage Policy Committee on March 11, Thai Minister of Public Health Cholnan Srikaew announced the approval of guidelines for controlling alcohol consumption at this year's celebration, which has been formally recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The ministry’s Department of Disease Control, in collaboration with the Alcohol Control Network, has proposed a campaign titled, "Don't drive and drink. Don’t drink and drive." This initiative is to be integrated with the National Alcohol Control Plan Phase 2 (2022-2027) to prevent and reduce road accidents during Songkran festivals.

The operational plan for the festival is divided into three phases - the pre-festival preparation period from April 1 to 10, the festival period from April 11 to 17, and the post-festival period from April 18 to 21.

It focuses on creating safe areas for water-splashing, with the plan also requesting that provincial governors and the Governor of Bangkok consider organizing alcohol-free and safe Songkran water celebration areas.

Furthermore, the plan encourages the Alcohol Control Committees in the provinces and Bangkok, along with relevant agencies, to collaborate to develop a public relations campaign to persuade businesses and the public to adhere to the law.

It also urges district officers and activists to actively participate in and enforce strict compliance with the law, especially in matters such as the prohibition against selling alcoholic beverages to individuals under the age of 20, selling alcoholic beverages through promotional activities of all kinds, sales outside the legally specified hours (from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to midnight), as well as in the sale and consumption in places specified under the law.

Under the plan, every driver involved in an accident will be tested with breathalyzers. Individuals under the age of 20 with alcohol levels exceeding 20mg/100ml should be thoroughly investigated, with legal action taken against those who supplied the alcohol.

Moreover, the plan also includes preventive measures addressing risky behaviors within communities to keep intoxicated people off the streets, for example, family and community checkpoints and screening for alcohol use by people who are under court-ordered behavioral control due to drunk driving.

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