The Secretary General of the Thai Public Health Ministry Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong reported that there was an uptick in serious injuries related to road accidents during this year’s Songkran festival, and 91% of the serious injuries were caused by people neglecting seat belts.
The data collected from April 11th to 16th showed that there were 17,775 injuries, which increased by 19.26% from the previous year. There were also 232 deaths, which decreased by 26.81% from the previous year. Among those injured, 3,814 people had to be hospitalized, which increased by 81.84%.
The top three provinces with the highest number of fatalities were Nakhon Ratchasima with 12 fatalities, followed by Chiang Rai and Pathum Thani with 9 and 8 fatalities, respectively. The top three provinces with the highest number of injuries were Chiang Mai with 811 injuries, Nakhon Ratchasima with 782, and Khon Kaen with 665.
Dr. Opas stated that the risk factor that contributed to serious injuries the most was people not wearing seat belts, which accounted for 91.95% of the overall injuries. Drunk driving and not wearing motorcycle helmets also played a part by 31.51% and 10.77%, respectively.
Dr. Opas pleaded with citizens to be careful while driving, especially between April 16th to 17th when traffic around the country would generally become congested as people traveled back to their homes after vacations.
He also urged people to get sufficient rest, check their vehicles, comply with traffic laws, and plan their routes in advance to minimize accidents.
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