340 die in New Year road accidents in Thailand

BANGKOK: Thailand had more than 3,000 road accidents over the New Year period, causing 340 deaths, the government said Monday.

During the official holiday period from Dec 29 to Jan 3, the disaster monitoring agency recorded a total of 3,092 traffic accidents.

The figures were a slight increase from the same period last year, which saw 2,733 accidents and 302 deaths.

The increase came despite an effort by the military government to promote road safety, including a new initiative that involved the confiscation of vehicles following drink driving arrests.

Officials blamed the high number of fatalities on the exodus of city dwellers to the countryside for the holidays, and on drink driving.

A World Health Organisation Report in 2015 found that Thailand was second only to Libya for road deaths.

The UN agency estimated that as many as 36.2 people per 100,000 die on the country's roadways, or around 24,237 people per year. – dpa