Police have said that people caught driving while under the influence of alcohol this Songkran can expect to feel the full force of the law. Police said they will take a zero tolerance approach to drinking driving during the Thai New Year celebrations, which begin in April 13 and are officially observed on April 15-17. Police also said that the number of road blocks will be increased nationwide and that anyone who is involved in an accident and is found to be over the alcohol limit will also potentially face additional charges related to recklessness and endangering lives.
Anyone caught drink driving will also be subject to a court order that will force them to wear an electronic bracelet that will monitor their location, said national deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul. However, police have said they will show leniency to people who sit in the beds of pickup trucks during Songkran. Despite the dangers, police said people can sit in the beds of pickups, which people do when splashing water during the New Year festival. The move comes after an order to outlaw people from riding in the beds of pickups during the Songkran 2018 proved hugely unpopular and led to fierce criticism of the police and authorities from people commenting on social media. The order was also largely ignored by many people celebrating Songkran last year.
The Songkran celebrations are a notoriously dangerous time on Thailand’s roads. Dubbed ‘Seven Deadly Days’ by Thai media, hundreds of people are killed and thousands injured as the result of road accidents during the week long Songkran celebrations. Last year, 418 people died and 3,897 were injured in 3,724 road accidents between April 11-17.