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FarangFarang

2016 Shaping Up to Be Deadliest Songkran Ever

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A few years back I was reading a story about the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities during Songkran and was shocked.  I did a little digging and since then I've been keeping a tally of these stats.  My data goes back to 2006 and it's looking very much like 2016 will set a new record.  

During the first four days of Songkran this year, there have been 259 deaths, 2378 injuries, and 2216 accidents.  As Songkran is officially measured over the full seven day Songkran period, we're just over the halfway mark.  

To put these numbers in comparison, the worst year on record in terms of deaths was 2009 with 373 deaths.  2007 was the worst year for injuries with a total of 4805.  Accidents also peaked in 2007 with a total of 4274.  

Deaths:

373 (2009) - 259 (2016) = 114

Injuries:

4805 (2007) - 2378 (2016) = 2427

Accidents:

4274 (2007) - 2216 (2016) = 2058

As you can see, deaths are 114 below 2009's peak number but with three days remaining during the Songkran festival and a current average of 64.75 deaths a day so far, unless there's a considerable drop in daily traffic deaths, 2016 will, unfortunately, be the deadliest Songkran that I'm aware of.  

An interesting observation about 2016's data is that deaths have increased every day during the first four days of Songkran.  Going from 52 deaths of the first day to 78 on the fourth day.  However, injuries and accidents after increasing daily for the first three days fell considerably on the fourth day.  

Amazingly, according to Richard Barrow, over 52,000 people have been arrested for drunk driving in the last six days.  

 

 

One can only imagine how high the numbers would be if the police were not out there taking so many drunk drivers off the road.  

 

 

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Just now, funky_house said:

Yes, every year those numbers never fail to shock me. Unbelievable the government doesn't do anything to drastically reduce them.

How many drunk drivers would they need to arrest?  52,000 drunk drivers off the road seems to have had zero impact.  

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Confiscation of bikes or cars, bigger fines,, driving bans, jail time, and increased insurance premiums are what we have in the UK. I  doubt any would work in Thailand with the way the police force works. Plus I think the Buddhist idea of reincarnation means they don't have such a fear of death as in western culture, so drive like lunatics.

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6 minutes ago, funky_house said:

Confiscation of bikes or cars, bigger fines,, driving bans, jail time, and increased insurance premiums are what we have in the UK. I  doubt any would work in Thailand with the way the police force works. Plus I think the Buddhist idea of reincarnation means they don't have such a fear of death as in western culture, so drive like lunatics.

A lot of that wouldn't work.  Driving bans would be ignored.  How do you take a bigger fine from someone with no money?  

I do think confiscation of vehicles might wake some people up.  Confiscate the vehicle of anyone convicted of drunk driving and then sell those vehicles and the proceeds are evenly split between the police (of course - you have to give them an incentive) and the families of those who have been killed or injured by drunk drivers (money would go into a general fund and help pay medical bills, etc).  

 

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Another dangerous day on the roads of Thailand.  Day 5 of Songkran resulted in 79 more deaths bringing the total to 338 over 5 days.  This is how this year is stacking up against the previous record setting years.  

Deaths:

373 (2009) - 338 (2016) = 35

Injuries:

4805 (2007) - 2891 (2016) = 1914

Accidents:

4274 (2007) - 2724 (2016) = 1550

While injuries and accidents are down considerably from their peak in 2007, the number of deaths is only 35 shy of the worst year I can find records for (2009).  With two more days to go and a current average of 67.6 deaths per day it's almost a certainty that 2016's Songkran will have taken more lives than any previous one.  

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18 hours ago, FarangFarang said:

A lot of that wouldn't work.  Driving bans would be ignored.  How do you take a bigger fine from someone with no money?  

I do think confiscation of vehicles might wake some people up.  Confiscate the vehicle of anyone convicted of drunk driving and then sell those vehicles and the proceeds are evenly split between the police (of course - you have to give them an incentive) and the families of those who have been killed or injured by drunk drivers (money would go into a general fund and help pay medical bills, etc).  

 

After giving this one some more thought, one would need to devise a way that protects innocent motorists from having their vehicles taken from occasional less than honest police officer.  The Thai legal system has a bit of a "guilty until proven innocent" slant to it which would make it too easy for the police to start arresting everyone for drunk driving and taking their cars.  Since proving that you aren't drunk would be difficult for most people, especially if you're presumed guilty already, perhaps they invest in some sort of tamperproof testing equipment and there might be some additional burdens of proof before a vehicle could be confiscated like the breathalyzer test would need to be videotaped or something along those lines.  No video, no evidence that the breathalyzer is properly maintained and calibrated, no confiscation.  

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Nothing is going to change any time soon. Too many other priorities for the government. What is also worth adding in are the road death and accident figures for the "western" new year's holiday, which is also a public holiday in Thailand, and which were I think 380 dead for 2015-16.

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