Thailand says Songkran holiday road deaths rose 21 percent

Authorities in Thailand say 442 people died in traffic accidents during the just concluded traditional New Year holiday — a 21 percent rise over the same period last year despite stern efforts to curb drunken and unsafe driving.

It was the highest number of Songkran holiday deaths since 476 were reported in 2006.

The Road Safety Directing Centre announced Monday that there were 3,337 accidents during the week ending Sunday, with motorcycles accounting for more than 81 percent of the total, followed by pickup trucks.

The government had sought to curb accidents during the holiday by deploying 20,000 officials to checkpoints and ordering drunken drivers' vehicles to be impounded and their licenses revoked.