Road accidents kill 264 during week-long Thai Songkran festival

By Hoang Vu   April 18, 2023 | 11:49 pm PT
Road accidents kill 264 during week-long Thai Songkran festival
People play with water canons as they celebrate the Songkran holiday which marks the Thai New Year in Bangkok, Thailand, April 13, 2023. Photo by Reuters
There were 2,203 traffic accidents killing 264 people during the seven-day Songkran festival in Thailand, with Bangkok recording the most fatalities, its interior ministry said Tuesday.

Chiang Rai recorded the highest number of accidents during the Songkran holidays that lasted from April 11-17 at 68, while Bangkok recorded the highest number of deaths at 22, Thailand's interior ministry Deputy Permanent Secretary Chotenarin Kerdsom said, as cited by Bangkok Post.

Though the number of accidents was slightly higher than last year, the death toll was lower. Last year, 278 people were killed during the holiday that marks the New Year in Thailand.

The number of road accidents during the seven-day period dropped by 13% and deaths fell by 15% compared to the past three-year average, said Boontham Lertsukhikasemsuk, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, according to the report.

Speeding and drunk driving were still the main causes of accidents, though the Thai government set up checkpoints on main roads and dispatched officers to ensure safe driving during the peak period.

Traditionally, thousands of tourists from across the world flock to Thailand to celebrate the water fighting festival.

This year's festival helped Thailand attract more than 300,000 international visitors and generated nearly $537 million in revenue, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

This year, Thailand targets 30 million international visitors, around 60% of pre-pandemic levels.

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