Sales of coffins jump as Songkran toll rises 30% over 2015
SALES OF COFFINS jumped during the Songkran holidays partly because of road fatalities, which numbered about 30 per cent more than during the same period a year earlier.
Don Mueang Airport is packed with people, above, returning to Bangkok yesterday after they spent a long Songkran holiday in the provinces. Congestion forms on the inbound side of Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, right, as people return to the capital yesterday.
“We have sold four to five coffins a day during the Songkran period, from the usual one or two per day,” shop owner Thanyaporn sae Lao said.
She operates her business, Sor Koontawee, in Nakhon Ratchasima – the province that saw the highest death toll from road accidents.
Thanyaporn said most deaths were related to road accidents, drunkenness or drowning.
Official figures showed that between April 11 and 16, there were 89 road accidents in Nakhon Ratchasima killing 18 people and injuring more than 100.
Across the country, up to 3,104 accidents were reported during the period, resulting in 397 deaths. Another 3,271 people were injured in the accidents.
On April 16 alone, 380 accidents occurred claiming as many as 59 lives.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said yesterday about half of victims were of adult working age.
Only five of the country’s 77 provinces reported no fatalities during the first six of Songkran’s so-called “seven dangerous days”, namely Trat, Phrae, Yala, Ranong and Nong Bua Lamphu. The seven-day period ended yesterday.
Songkran marks the traditional Thai New Year and is the occasion for the country’s long holiday period. As millions of Thais hit the road to visit their home provinces or vacation elsewhere, the period sees a huge spike in road accidents and casualties every year.
Groups join forces to fight for road safety
Several organisations joined forces to campaign for road safety during the period to remind drivers that they should try to minimise risks. The major identified causes of road accidents are drunk driving, speeding and abrupt lane changes.
Overall, the number of Songkran road casualties was higher than during the same period last year.
In terms of deaths during the first six days, the number rose from 306 to 397. Injuries increased from 3,070 to 3,271.
As the Songkran holiday period ended yesterday, traffic to Bangkok was gridlocked. On some stretches of Phaholyothin Road, traffic congestion was so serious that officials turned an outbound lane into an inbound lane for vehicles heading back to the capital.
Pol Lieutenant Samruay Obklang, a traffic policeman in Nakhon Ratchasima, said the road to Bangkok had been packed with motorists since yesterday morning.
Bus operators increased their Nakhon Ratchasima-Bangkok bus service from 200 to 400 trips yesterday to accommodate the huge demand. Most holidaymakers will return to work today.
A massive number of migrant workers from Myanmar and Cambodia also returned to Thailand yesterday.
In the border province of Tak, Myanmar citizens crowded a bus terminal to catch a ride back to Bangkok.
Meanwhile, in the border province of Sa Kaew, thousands of Cambodians yesterday crossed the border to Thailand to return to work.
Original article from The Nation Thailand Monday 18th April 2016