Thai New Year road deaths hit 480, defying junta get-tough vow

Baku, January 5, AZERTAC

Nearly 480 people died on Thailand's roads over the New Year holiday, official figures showed Thursday (Jan 5), a 25 per cent rise over the so-called "seven dangerous days" despite the junta's tough talk on drink driving, according to AFP.

The kingdom has some of the world's most lethal roads, with the carnage spiking over the New Year as millions of city workers return to their country homes.

Thailand's junta government has launched repeated crackdowns on drink driving since its 2014 power grab, including approving harsher penalties for offenders and forcing drivers to visit mortuaries holding the bodies of accident victims.

But the toll over the last week still soared to 478 -- up from the 380 recorded during the same period in 2016, according to the Interior Ministry's disaster prevention department.

"The main reason... was drunk driving and speeding," said deputy Interior Minister Suthee Markboon, adding that a majority of the 3,919 crashes involved motorcyclists.

The army said officials arrested nearly 67,000 people for drink driving and seized more than 4,000 cars between Dec 29 and Jan 4.

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