Above: A Thai child splashes water on soldiers on a motorcycle during celebrations of Songkran, the water festival marking the country's new year in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat on April 13, 2012.
Some 144 people were killed on the first three days of the Songkran holiday with another 1,668 people injured in 1,554 road accidents from Wednesday to Friday.
The number of fatalities was well over the toll for the first three days last year, which was 116.
Phichit had the most deaths at eight persons, while Nakhon Si Thammarat had the most injuries at 85 persons, as well as the most accidents (80), the Road Safety Centre announced yesterday.
Pol Lt-General Borihan Siang-arom, the assistant National Police chief, told a press conference yesterday that only four provinces - Chaiyaphum, Yasothon, Nong Khai and Nong Bua Lamphu - had no road accidents.
On Friday, 56 people were killed and 778 others injured in 730 road accidents, he said. Most accidents resulted from drunk driving followed by speeding.
On Friday, police also arrested 196 drunk drivers aged under 20. Police would investigate these and trace the sellers of alcohol to punish them too, he added.
Drunk driving continued to be the number one cause of accidents at 41 per cent on Friday (or 38 per cent for the period from April 11-13) followed by speeding at 20 per cent. Most accidents involved motorcycles at 83 per cent and took place on a straight stretch of road (63 per cent). About 31 per cent of accident victims were youths under 20 while working-aged people (20-49 years old) accounted for 56 per cent.
Some 761,102 vehicles were stopped at 2,400 checkpoints and 108,459 traffic law violators arrested. Most were bikers who failed to wear helmets or people who failed to present a driver's licence.
Meanwhile, an Abac Poll of 2,144 people over 18 in 17 provinces including Bangkok from April 1-13, found most of those interviewed - 78 per cent - had witnessed road accidents during the previous Songkran. They cited the cause of accidents as: speeding and reckless driving or riding at 98 per cent; a lack of police to enforce traffic laws (96 per cent); drunk driving (94 per cent); water splashing while a vehicle was moving (86 per cent) and motorists' violating traffic laws (74 per cent).
Close to 88 per cent of those interviewed urged stronger laws to punish wrongdoers, followed by stricter law-enforcement at 86 per cent, while 72 per cent said police should use speed-detecting technology and arrest offenders without discrimination.
The poll also interviewed 215 police, most of whom (88.5 per cent), cited drunk driving as the problem they mostly found. This was followed by motorists who broke the law and boasted of higher authority and influence so police had to release them (61 per cent), and a lack of support from their supervisors (59 per cent).
Respondents also suggested a campaign to get all vehicles to turn on their headlights when visibility is dim and for police to use technology and severe fines for all law-violating motorists without discrimination.
In related news, a total of 4,184 homeowners joined the police's "Leaving Houses under police's care" project from April 8-17, said deputy police chief General Pongsapat Pongcharoen. Bangkok had some 1,930 homeowners participating with Chockchai precinct having the most participants (87 houses).