A national police report released on Wednesday showed that 10 people died – six fewer than last year – and 77 were injured in traffic accidents across the country during the three days of Water Festival.
Forty-nine people were seriously hurt, and 28 suffered minor injuries.
Last year, 16 people died and 60 were injured in traffic accidents nationwide during the same period.
The report added that on Tuesday – the last day of the festival – there were 14 traffic accidents nationwide, resulting in four deaths and 20 people being seriously injured, with five slightly hurt.
“The road traffic accidents were caused by people exceeding the speed limit, disregarding traffic signs and road markings, drink driving and overtaking without consideration for road conditions and right of way,” the report said.
The Ministry of Interior’s National Road Safety Committee secretary-general Him Yan declined to comment on Wednesday and referred questions to specialists at the Road Traffic Department.
They Visal, the head of the National Police’s Traffic Police and Public Order Office, confirmed on Wednesday that traffic fatalities during the three-day Water Festival were down on last year and said people had changed their attitudes regarding driving, with greater learning about and respect for the Traffic Law than in the past.
“This year’s death toll has decreased because people’s knowledge of traffic issues has increased greatly, and this is a reflection of changing attitudes. When people drive, they better respect the Traffic Law and have a better understanding of driving safely,” Visal said.
Visal said the drop was also thanks to increased law enforcement during national celebrations as specialist officials had studied the problems experienced in previous years.
Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation country director Kim Pagna noted that while the death toll had decreased during this year’s festival, the number of people injured had risen.
“There were 16 deaths last year and only 10 this year. That is great news. But the number of people injured increased by some 28 per cent, and 49 people being seriously injured over three days is a worrying statistic,” he said.
Pagna said civil society groups had consistently requested a halt to the advertising of alcoholic drinks.
“If alcohol advertising is not completely banned, it should be stopped during the main public holidays,” he said.
A National Police report released on October 8 said road traffic deaths had increased by more than a hundred in the third quarter of this year, with injuries also up on last year as the number of accidents rose by almost 250.
From July to September, 488 people were killed in 988 traffic accidents, an increase of 105 and 238 respectively on the same period last year, while 1,494 were injured, up by 446.