As the Thai traditional New Year Songkran celebration is just two weeks ahead, several government agencies are now making preparations to cope with expected heavy traffic that will see millions of people travelling on all highways and on planes during April 11-17.
The preparation was to ensure safe travel for the people, and to prevent traffic accidents that in the past had claimed hundreds of lives and thousands of injuries during the Songkran holidays.
The Department of Land Transport and the Department of Highways (DOH) held high hope that they would be able to reduce fatalities in road traffic to zero at a number of roads it have selected for road safety campaign during April 11-17.
The government declared April 12-16 official Songkran holidays.
At the meeting yesterday (March 29), the DOH has identified 40 accident-prone routes where safety measures and campaigns must be intensified.
Thanin Somboon, the DOH director-general, said preparations to facilitate travels during this year’s Songkran festival was aimed at reducing traffic accidents on 77 selected roads to zero in line with the Transport Ministry’s policy.
Of the total 77 roads, 47 are under the responsibility of the DOH.
He said under the preparation, its local highway offices were ordered to conduct inspections on road conditions, traffic signs and road lights. They were also urged to ensure that all of the devices are functional to maximize road safety.
He said as past traffic statistics have all shown that causes of road accidents on the 47 roads are speeding, drowsy driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, cutting off and violating traffic regulations.
Therefore, the department has beefed up its safety measures by installing more speed limit signs, setting up checkpoints and adding warning signs on roads, he added.
For plane passengers during the Songkran festival, Mr Darun Sangchai, director-general of the Department of Airports, said he expected 7% increase of of passengers at 28 airports nationwide during April 11-17.
The number of passengers on international flights is projected at 45,000, while those traveling domestically will be about 336,000, he said
He vowed that the department would tighten its measures to maximize safety and convenience for all passengers.