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More Thais die on new year roads despite safety campaign

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – More than 400 people died in road accidents in Thailand over the traditional new year holiday, the Interior Ministry said yesterday, higher than the year before despite a new road safety campaign.

The ministry said 418 people were killed in 3,724 accidents during the April 11-17 Songkran holiday week, up from 390 deaths in the holiday period last year.

“The most common cause of accidents was speeding, accounting for 27.69 percent of accidents,” Deputy Interior Minister Sutee Markboon said of the holiday known as the “Seven Deadly Days”.

The government set targets for reducing road fatalities and urges people not to drink and drive and to wear helmets on motorcycles.

This year, the government launched a new road safety campaign dubbed “Drive with courtesy, adhere to road rules” and aired videos showing images of the road carnage.

But critics say the hard-hitting public service announcements are not getting through to people.

Emergency responders say traffic laws are rarely enforced and there is insufficient road safety education.

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