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Dr. Cholnan Srikaew Launches Nationwide Campaign to Reduce Road Accidents During Songkran Festival

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Once upon a recent time, from April 11th to the 17th, 2023, to be exact, the air was filled with an unsettling statistic: a towering number of 4,340 souls found themselves entangled in mishaps on the road, a direct aftermath of mingling too closely with their liquid courage – alcohol. Among these, a shocking 502 were youngsters under the tender age of 20. One might imagine a vast highway as the stage for these tragedies, but no, it was the less trodden secondary roads that bore witness to the majority of these incidents.

In a decisive move, the guardians of public health, led by Dr. Cholnan Srikaew, the Minister of Public Health himself, convened on a fine Monday. There, amidst the clinking of coffee cups and the rustling of papers, a resolution was born. The Alcoholic Beverage Policy Committee, with a stroke of unanimity, green-lit a comprehensive blueprint designed to curtail our collective penchant for celebrating with a drink in one hand and car keys in the other.

Under the banner, “Don’t drive and drink. Don’t drink and drive,” a noble campaign saw the light of day. This wasn’t merely a catchy slogan; it was the heart of a master plan poised to weave itself into the fabric of the National Alcohol Control Plan Phase 2, stretching from 2022 to 2027. The grand aim? To douse the flames of road accidents during the effervescent Songkran Festivals.

The scheme was meticulously crafted, segmented into a trio of phases. The anticipatory hum of preparation would begin as early as April 1st, tiptoeing right up to the event’s eve on April 10th. Then, the festival itself would unfold, spanning from April 11th to the 17th, followed by a reflective post-festival period from April 18th to 21st. Each phase was imbued with purpose, targeting the preservation of joy and safety in equal measure.

Part of this grand plan was the creation of sanctuaries amidst the chaos – areas where water-splashing, a hallmark of Songkran, could unfold in sheer delight, untainted by the shadow of alcohol. This vision extended to plead with the governors across the land, right up to the prestigious Governor of Bangkok, to carve out oases of sober, splashing fun.

The torch of responsibility was also passed to the Alcohol Control Committees in the provinces and the bustling capital. Their mission was clear: to marshal a battalion of publicity efforts that would nudge businesses and the public towards a safer celebration, rooted in law and order. District officers and the vigilant activists were called to the frontline as well, assigned to uphold the sanctity of the law, guarding against the shadow of underage sales, dodgy promotions, and ungodly hours of alcohol trade.

But what of the unfortunate souls who found their celebrations cut short by the chime of a siren? It was decreed that every driver, caught in the snare of an accident, would be asked to pass the trial by breathalyzer. Should their breath rattle with reluctance, a blood test at the nearest citadel of healing – the hospital – would stand as judge and jury.

In a striking proclamation, the realm was alerted to the special scrutiny reserved for those barely out of their teens yet found with spirits whispering in their blood. For those suppliers who dared furnish the elixir to these young seekers, the shadow of the law loomed large and ominous.

Yet, amid the clanging of rules and the march of enforcers, the plan unfurled a banner of hope and rehabilitation. It envisaged a community shielded by watchful eyes, where every household and alleyway stood as a checkpoint against the tide of intoxication. Those with a history of losing themselves to the drink and found under the watchful gaze of the court were to be screened, an embrace rather than a shackle, guiding them back to the fold.

And for the souls willing to stride towards the light of rehabilitation, the halls of healing within the Ministry of Public Health’s venerable establishments opened their gates. Here, the journey back would not be weighed down by the specter of expense, for the plan made a vow – treatment shall not be a burden borne alone.

In essence, this grand orchestration wasn’t just about curbing a statistic; it was about reweaving the vibrant tapestry of Songkran with threads of safety, joy, and communal responsibility. A narrative where each splash of water wasn’t just a gesture of play, but a symbol of a community united against the specter of harm, dancing under the banner of safe celebration.


  1. songkranLover March 12, 2024

    While the intentions behind Dr. Cholnan Srikaew’s campaign are commendable, enforcing dry zones during Songkran feels like an overreach. The festival is about celebration, and responsible adults should have the freedom to enjoy a drink if they choose.

    • SafelyFirst March 12, 2024

      I disagree, @songkranLover. The statistics are alarming, and when lives are at stake, strict measures are necessary. It’s not about restricting freedom; it’s about ensuring public safety during one of the busiest and most dangerous times of the year.

      • ModerationIsKey March 12, 2024

        There can be a middle ground – stricter enforcement of existing laws without complete bans on alcohol. Education about moderation and the dangers of drunk driving could be more effective.

    • GovThailand March 12, 2024

      Thank you for your feedback. Our primary goal is the safety and health of our citizens and visitors during Songkran. We’re open to suggestions and are continuously evaluating the efficacy of our policies.

  2. YoungPioneer March 12, 2024

    It’s shocking to see how many accidents involve young people under 20. It’s not just about alcohol; it’s about educating our youth on road safety and responsible celebration habits.

    • DrunkenMistake March 12, 2024

      Absolutely agree. I had a close scare last Songkran because I thought I was invincible. These efforts could save someone like me from making a dumb mistake.

      • YoungPioneer March 12, 2024

        It’s brave to admit that. Education and awareness campaigns can make a real difference. Change starts with us making better choices.

  3. EcoWarrior March 12, 2024

    Is anybody thinking about the environmental impact of all this? Songkran is not just about water fights; it’s a time to reflect on cleanliness and renewal. Reducing accidents and alcohol use can only add to the festival’s true spirit.

    • TraditionKeeper March 12, 2024

      Exactly! It’s not just about the fun and games. Songkran has deep cultural significance, and it’s time we remember and respect that. Safety measures protect both people and the essence of the festival.

  4. HealthAdvocate March 12, 2024

    It’s encouraging to see a focus on rehabilitation and treatment for those struggling with alcohol. This approach offers a path to recovery and reintegration rather than punishment alone.

  5. TouristJoe March 12, 2024

    As a tourist planning to visit during Songkran, this kind of proactive safety campaign makes me feel more secure about joining in the festivities.

  6. FreedomFighter March 12, 2024

    Safety is important, but we shouldn’t have to sacrifice our freedoms for it. This campaign feels too much like policing morality. Adults should be allowed to make their own choices.

    • PublicHealth123 March 12, 2024

      The issue is when those choices endanger others. Public safety campaigns are about protecting the community as a whole, not limiting individual freedoms unduly.

      • FreedomFighter March 12, 2024

        I see your point, but where does it end? At what point do we say enough is enough and trust people to make the right decisions?

    • songkranLover March 12, 2024

      Exactly my point, @FreedomFighter. There’s got to be a balance that doesn’t ruin the festival for everyone.

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