BANGKOK – Thailand's military government is cracking down on traffic carnage, invoking special executive powers accorded by an interim constitution to force automobile drivers and all their passengers to wear seatbelts or face a fine.
The move by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha comes ahead of next month's celebration of the traditional Songkran New Year's holiday, which sees much of the country's urban population travel to their rural home villages for revelry, often fueled by alcohol. A total of 442 people died in road accidents during last year's weeklong holiday, which has been dubbed the "Seven Days of Death."
Prayuth has been criticized for frequent use of the constitution's Article 44, which is supposed to be used to address situations endangering public order. His order became effective with its publication Tuesday.