Drink and drive a Songkran killer

BANGKOK, 27 March 2018: Motorists have been warned that stricter measures will be enforced during the annual Songkran holiday 12 to 15 April.

Stung by repeated failures to lower the death and accident toll during the national holiday, that marks the traditional New Year in Thailand, the government has responded with tougher rules targeting drunk drivers.

Police have been instructed to breathalyze all drivers and motorcyclists involved in accidents that resulted in injuries.

Thailand suffers the indignity of being named the country with the highest number of road deaths annually at 24,237, or 36.6 deaths per 100,000 population (WHO).  It whittles down to an average of 66 people dying on Thai roads every day, year-in and year-out.

Despite the annual Songkran carnage, the death toll during what the media calls “the seven deadly days of Songkran,” is often lower than the average daily toll year-round.

Last year, based on 390 deaths during the seven-day period, the average was 56 deaths per day.

However, there are thousands of injuries and many of them life changing for victims and families. Last year, the official statistics for Songkran recorded  3,690 accidents and 3,808 people injured over seven days.

Police says statistics show that speeding and drunk driving are the main causes of fatalities. Around 80% of the accidents involved motorcyclists.

Travel Tip: Don’t hire a motorbike

The pertinent advice for tourists is under no circumstances hire a motorcycle. The bikes are not fully insured and often the driver’s international holiday insurance cover excludes motorcycle accidents in the smallprint.

Motorcycle hire comes with the stipulation that the driver is fully responsible for any damage to the bike, other vehicles and injury claims by those the driver injures.

If the accident causes life-changing injuries, hospital bills are often not covered by international insurance companies under a typical travel insurance cover. The hospital bill can quickly run up to THB 500,000 if admitted to ICU.

The trend in travel insurance offered to travellers planning a trip to Thailand is to exclude motorcycle under accident cover.