Unsafe Songkran


Photos courtesy of Bangkok Post

Transport authorities hoped to find a decline in the number of deaths caused by road accidents during this year’s Songkran festival. Despite campaigns to promote safe driving, however, authorities were dismayed by this year’s accident toll figures.

Read the following story from the Bangkok Post to learn more about these worrying results.

The Road Safety Centre failed to meet its target to cut the number of road accident victims during the Songkran holidays as this year’s death toll was actually higher than last year’s.



Some 82 percent of road accidents during the Songkran break involved motorcycles, with 10 percent involving pickup trucks.

“A total of 320 people were killed in road accidents during the seven-day road safety campaign from April 11 to 17, which was 49 more people killed than last year,” Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit said.

However, the minister added that although more people were killed this year, the number of road accidents was actually lower.

Yongyuth presided over the closing ceremony of the Road Safety Centre campaign on April 18.


The main cause of road accidents was drunk-driving, which was responsible for almost 40 percent of the 3,129 accidents, followed by speeding.

Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said that several shops had violated alcohol control laws during the Songkran holidays by selling alcoholic beverages at petrol stations and during banned hours.

Almost half of the 8,063 shops inspected by public health officials on April 11 and 13 were found to have sold alcoholic beverages during prohibited hours. Under the 2008 Alcohol Control Act, shops are only allowed to sell alcoholic drinks from 11 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to midnight.



Read the story. Then, decide whether the following statements are true or false.

1. According to public health officials’ inspections during the Songkran festival, about 8,000 shops sold alcoholic drinks at prohibited hours.
2. Yongyuth Wichaidit is the Interior Minister.
3. The top cause of road accidents was drunk-driving.
4. A total of 230 people were killed in road accidents during the seven-day road safety campaign this year.


  • decline (n): a continuous decrease in the number, amount, etc. of something

    dismay (v): to make somebody feel shocked and disappointed

    toll (n): the amount of damage or number of deaths that are caused by a particular event

    petrol station (n): a place at the side of a road where you take your car to buy petrol, oil, etc.

    ban (v): to decide officially that something is not allowed

    inspect (v): to officially visit somewhere to check that rules are being obeyed and that standards are acceptable

    prohibit (v): to stop something from being done or used, especially by law