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Songkran Death Toll Rises To 180

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Songkran death toll rises to 180

BANGKOK: -- A total of 76 people were killed and 1,103 others were injured in road accidents on Sunday, the third day of the 7-dangerous-day of Songkran festival, the Road Safety Monitoring Centre announced Monday.

Jaral Phakdeethanakul, permanent secretary for Justice Minister who is an official of the road safety centre, said 1,018 road accidents happened Sunday.

He said the accumulated death toll of the three first day of the seven dangerous period rose to 180.

He said 2,238 accidents happened from Friday to Sunday, in which 2,514 people were injured.

Jaral said drunk driving was still the main cause of the accidents and 84.18 accidents involved motorcycles.

-- The Nation 2008-04-14

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How does this compare to day 3 of last year?

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A cynic might say that that as Thailand does not have a war to fight, this is Mother Natures way of culling the population. I read today also that the Interior Minsiter is considering banning alcohol at Songkran next year, that would make it like a 7 day election and kiss goodbye to even more tourists. Let's face it, whatever we say or think, nothing will change because the Thais seem to LIKE risking their own lives and that of others with lunatic behaviour. I feel truly sorry for the loss of life incurred thus fare and for what is still to come. Happy Songkran, stay at home!

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How does this compare to day 3 of last year?

I can't find any figures for the first three days of last year, but the total was 361 dead. If they keep going at the rate they are, the death toll will exceed 400 this year, a sad indictment of policing on the roads :o

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How does this compare to day 3 of last year?

Sadly, it probably doesn't 'matter' what the answer is to your question, except to a statistician perhaps, because that's all it is: a statistic. Same, same every year and nothing is likely to change people's behaviour over the Songkran holiday whether the figure is 20%, or even 100% higher than last year. Everyone is aware of the danger on the roads at Songkran and while some take precautions, many simply don't care. It seems that the fun is worth the risk.

I don't believe that the culprit is just alcohol either. Ignorance and over-exuberance are equally to blame. Take for example the case of a pick-up full of people racing along a two lane main highway at 100km passing a motorbike with three kids on it traveling same direction at 60km. The pick-up occupants hurl several buckets of water at the motorbike riders who are caught unaware, wobble and come to a dead halt in the middle of the lane. The car traveling behind the motorbike on this occasion (yesterday) happened to be me and I could hardly see out of the windscreen because of the water that had just been thrown at my car too by the passing pick up. I very nearly slammed into the back of the bike, but luckily I was at a sufficient distance behind to swerve and avoid them. Several people could have died just then. It was 9.00am and I doubt that anyone 'involved' had been drinking. Repeat this scenario a thousand times a day all over Thailand and the odds of a less satisfactory conclusion build up...

Very, very sad for all who are injured. I just don't see anything changing.

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How does this compare to day 3 of last year?

Yes - and just as relevant - how does this compare with an AVERAGE period of the same length in a NON holiday week?

Thai stats never seem to give us this one, even looonnnnggg after the water war killings. Why, I wonder? Is there no such thing as an "average period"?

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Even they where to ban alcohol next year, it is only the sale, thus people will stock up prior... also note songkran for example has only lasted 1 day in Samui.... how they could ban for 7 days!, kiss goodbye to the tourists!!!!

If they pin pointed the promblem to BAD policeing, maybe there would not be so many deaths.......

I myself have lost a very good friend yesterday who was killed..... he will be just another satistic, but the crash/acciedent was avoidable if the police where doing there Job !!!!!!!!

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A cynic might say that that as Thailand does not have a war to fight, this is Mother Natures way of culling the population. I read today also that the Interior Minsiter is considering banning alcohol at Songkran next year, that would make it like a 7 day election and kiss goodbye to even more tourists. Let's face it, whatever we say or think, nothing will change because the Thais seem to LIKE risking their own lives and that of others with lunatic behaviour. I feel truly sorry for the loss of life incurred thus fare and for what is still to come. Happy Songkran, stay at home!

What a great idea - As I live here full time the thought of a dry Songkran (alcoholicly speaking) is music to my ears. No more drunken tourists thinking it's hilarious to soak residents trying to get on with their daily life. I often wonder how one of these "funseekers" would feel about having a bucket of iced water poured over him as he was on his way to work or the supermarket??

I'm no killjoy and have no problem with those that want to enjoy soaking each other from having their fun....BUT move it off the roads, get it into park areas let those whp don't want ot get involved get on with their lives in peace. If it was just 1 or even 2 days it wouldn't be a problem but here in Pattaya 10 days??? It's absurd - no wonder many residents leave the country for the period!

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.... I read today also that the Interior Minsiter is considering banning alcohol at Songkran next year, that would make it like a 7 day election and kiss goodbye to even more tourists. Let's face it, whatever we say or think, nothing will change because the Thais seem to LIKE risking their own lives and that of others with lunatic behaviour.......

uhh like NOT. The tourists and foreign residents that specifically avoid Thailand during the week most likely are the type of person Thailand needs most: i.e with money and an actual interest in the country. If a yob avoids Thailand during songkran because he/she can't get pis$ed drunk while trying to annoy as many people as possible, it's hardly a loss to the local economy. I'm sure they'll come stay in their cheap digs and haggle over a 20bh discount another week. Like a bad fungus, those people are hard to be rid of.

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On an earlier 'death toll' news topic, I suggested a way to minimise the death toll would be to simply shorten the 'official' holidays.....but rethinking that, It's summer vacation for the kids and they will play 3-4 days before and after as the kids always do.

The Thai's relationship with alcohol is the biggest contributing factor to the high death toll and that has to be addressed before we see a reduction in death tolls. They drink till they drop or die.

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It IS all very, very sad.

Unfortunately each holiday we read comments from the authorities that their target and hope is to have less deaths than the previous year.

If they manage that they consider it somewhat of a success but at what cost. It is merely a statistical success because an enormous number have still died.

We are told 86% who have died so far are motorbike riders and a huge number of deaths are drink related.

I would like to see how many of these died of head injuries and were NOT wearing helmets who may have survived otherwise (very many I bet).

The Thais mostly do not want to wear helmets and are willing to accept being occasionally caught. The Thai law however says they must wear helmets (like them or not)

How to enforce??

It is not good using the UK system of points on the driving licence, or license confiscation because 46% do not have license (or insurance). BUt they all have ID Cards and their record can be recorded in Police computer databanks.

The answer is VERY simple increasing and stiff financial penalties. The drivers understand that one AND the traffic police need as policy to try and stop ALL they see (and not only during "road block purges).

I KNOW it would take up a huge amount of police time INITIALLY (and at first many would escape penalty due to volume of numbers) BUT, as in other countries, once the riders realized they were not getting away with it and increasingly they were being pulled up (anywhere and not only at road blocks) and were having to pay huge amounts in fines they would soon obey the helmet laws (even if for the wrong reasons). This would cause a drop in necessary policing on this issue quickly and the remaining "die hards" would be easy to identify and deal with.

At the same time the police should always check for valid driving licenses and confiscate motorbikes of rider not able to show a valid driving license and ONLY release the bike when one can be shown BY THAT rider. It does not matter (unless stolen) who owns the bike, because bike owners would soon make sure only licensed driver used or borrowed their bikes if they faced confiscation.

Some may feel that harsh but harsh penalties are already in place under Thai law which permit fines AND a maximum prison term of 1 month. Its just that nobody thinks the police and authorities will impose the maximum penalty and they do not - so there is no real deterrent to driving without a license. The truth is, too many Thais do and are allowed to do what they want and not what their own laws demand for theirs and others protection.

Regarding the lack of driving licenses It should not be forgotten that most without a license have never learned the highway code, correct riding techniques, knowledge of road signs or safe handing and road positioning of their motorbikes (hence why nearly every bike rider heavily cuts the corner when turning right AND they have no insurance to pay for damage to others property or medical bills (or their own).

My wife was told by a friend (who asked why she bothered to learn to drive and take her test last week - my wife passed :o ) and I quote

"Oh I did my test 3 times and failed each time.It was so stupid I did not waste my money any more - I know I can drive well and I don't need the license most do not have them anyway".

I think that sums up the attitude.

Lets face it. The driving tests in all countries do not even mean you are a good safe driver but that you have satisfied the MINIMUM levels of competency to be allowed to drive on the roads with a full driving license. Clearly my wife' friend is a danger to herself and everybody else (and uninsured) her driving test failures PROVE that . Her complacent attitude is almost as dangerous.

May you and all families and friends have a safe and happy remainder of Songkran.

Regards

Dave

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Phuket is finally drying up today.

Everything passed quite well. I haven't heard of any major incidents. Did see some people bleeding and getting stitches... because they slipped on the dangerous polished wet floors in bars...

Regards and happy Songkhran

Sam

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.... I read today also that the Interior Minsiter is considering banning alcohol at Songkran next year, that would make it like a 7 day election and kiss goodbye to even more tourists. Let's face it, whatever we say or think, nothing will change because the Thais seem to LIKE risking their own lives and that of others with lunatic behaviour.......

uhh like NOT. The tourists and foreign residents that specifically avoid Thailand during the week most likely are the type of person Thailand needs most: i.e with money and an actual interest in the country. If a yob avoids Thailand during songkran because he/she can't get pis$ed drunk while trying to annoy as many people as possible, it's hardly a loss to the local economy. I'm sure they'll come stay in their cheap digs and haggle over a 20bh discount another week. Like a bad fungus, those people are hard to be rid of.

Only natural therapy treatment can help us get rid of bad funghus: drug-raid all the guest houses in khao san non-stop during the 3 previous days of songkran, move the festivities to nearby parks and green areas only, ban any water fool play from the streets and the road, ban pick ups with people standind in the back and throwing water, police blocks at every junction with speed radars beforehand, confiscation of the bikes with illegal engines, police blocks checking on helmets, helmets have to be certified by a safety organization (not merely plastic bowls with foam inside) ... etc etc ...and so on

Yetserday there was a roadblock on Sukh. at ekamai, most bikes who were ordered to be stopped pulled the accelerator and escaped with no chasing but a sad disapointed look on the cops faces... Police has no power over the people, no authority is being shown but the talks of the barrels in some circumstances... They stopped me and I did stop, my only mistake was to drive an antic vespa and the mirror are not on the bar but lower on the front body... 100B and off I went, I was happy about it on a personal level, I won't have to leave my scooter there and go to the nearby police station, wait two hours and pay 400 bahts fine, but in the end, I knew this is showing that this is not the solution to the country main problem, never this could have happened in France or any other Eu country, you do wrong, whatever it is, there is a law and you must apply it, you don't, well you pay the fine and you rectify your shot ! You're not happy, you go to court ! THAT's it ... does it sound like utopia in Thailand?

This country needs BASIC discipline, as it is applied in other countries who feel like the civilization is evolving and has the be controlled and tamed... I don't understand why because the thai culture favors sanuk and mai pen rai attitude in their daily life, that during special holidays it is completely relaxed and people are let to their craziness and face their own destiny... sometimes paying the price for others !!

Thailand is a great country, and thai people are some of the nicest when we get to know them, but modernism and ignorance (and the spread of it) are killing Thai civilization, soon there will be left out of this only a selfish / greedy / egoistic population with no bound to traditions but to have fun and satisfy themselves

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Lifelover your story is insane, that must have been so scary, thank god you managed to avoid that motorcycle. This is my first Songkran in Thailand and I figured to go to Wat Arun and Sanam Luang to check out the festivities, but when I saw what was going on on the streets here in Huay Kwang I changed my mind pretty quick. The street I'm on is fairly small and even here we saw a few minor accidents, no serious injuries luckily. I was pretty shocked to see my neighbours giving shots of whiskey to drivers who would pull up for a soaking. Hard enough to drive safely in Bangkok, let alone drunk, when the streets are wet, and with drunk pedestrians partying all over the roads chucking water. Tons of little kids in the thick of it too, it's one of those scenarios where you're standing around expecting to be giving first aid any minute.

Boater I'm so sorry about your friend, and for the families and friends of the other casualties, and for those that will happen over the next few days. It's terribly senseless. As for solutions, yeah better policing, enforcing the rules that are in place would be great, but unfortunately this is a concept being discussed on a forum mainly populated by falangs, and not by Thais themselves. The majority don't seem to see the value in it as GDHM points out. That will have to change first, and I'm not sure what it'll take for that to happen. It's a shame that there aren't any advocacy groups (or are there?), like MADD in the west. Not to say that such things are a fix all, but at least they keep these concerns in the pubic eye and apply pressure for change. There has to be a huge number of Thais who've lost loved ones in drunk driving accidents, but you don't seem to hear much from them. It seems to be swept under the rug, mai pen lai, it's such a shame.

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Even they where to ban alcohol next year, it is only the sale, thus people will stock up prior... also note songkran for example has only lasted 1 day in Samui.... how they could ban for 7 days!, kiss goodbye to the tourists!!!!

If they pin pointed the promblem to BAD policeing, maybe there would not be so many deaths.......

I myself have lost a very good friend yesterday who was killed..... he will be just another satistic, but the crash/acciedent was avoidable if the police where doing there Job !!!!!!!!

Yes give the police the fault, you are not really reaslistic arent you.

maxi

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