Deputy permanent secretary for the interior Ansit Sampantarat said that 54 people were killed and 373 injured in 388 road accidents across the country on Monday, the third day of the Songkran road safety campaign.
On average of about 55 people die on Thailand’s roads each day, so Monday’s figure appears no higher than normal, and the toll during the previous two days was lower than average.
However, the actual number of deaths will be much higher since the official Songkran tally only includes deaths at the scene of an accident. Many of those injured will likely die later.
On Monday, speeding caused 30.2% of accidents, followed by drink-driving with 28.4%, he said. Motorcycles were involved in 87.1% of accidents, about 30% of which occurred between 4 pm and 8 pm, he said.
The highest number of accidents (22) were recorded in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, which also had the highest number of injuries (21).
Sakon Nakhon and Suphan Buri recorded the highest number of deaths with four each.
There were 1,896 main checkpoints manned by 59,079 officials across the country. A total of 343,703 vehicles were checked and 65,929 drivers were charged for various offences, including 18,210 for driving without a licence and 16,553 for not wearing a crash helmet.
Meanwhile, 5 people died and 12 others were seriously injured when a Bangkok-bound double-decker bus burst into flames in Khon Kaen’s Ban Haet district early yesterday, police said.
The tragedy occurred about 12.30 am on the Mittraphap highway near Nong Kham in tambon Non Sombun.
Survivors told police the 407 Pattana Company bus left Bung Kan province on Monday evening and stopped in Udon Thani before heading for Bangkok with 33 passengers on board.
The bus made another stop in Khon Kaen and then proceeded shortly after midnight. While passing Nong Kham, a rear tyre burst and caught fire. The fire spread to the engine compartment and the entire bus was soon engulfed in flames.
5 passengers, 2 of them children, died and 12 others suffered serious burns. 16 other passengers were able to escape the burning vehicle. The bus driver also sustained injuries.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.