The Grinch that Stole Songkran
For many Thai people, Songkran means waterfights & drinking alcohol. Lots of it and continuously for the five day holiday. But all of that might come to an end if the government has its way. They have mulled banning alcohol in the past but it has always been shot down. As we all know, there is a lot of money in alcohol sales. But now it would seem that they have come up with a compromise. The police have designated safety zones where the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages will be strictly prohibited. The zoning areas in Bangkok will include Khao San Road, Silom Road and Rama 9 Road. Other provinces are Khon Khon, Pattaya and Phuket.
The second crackdown by police on the upcoming Songkran festival is the banning of vehicles carrying large barrels of water. What usually happens, is that a dozen or so people crowd into the back of pick-up trucks which then roam the streets as the people on the back throw water at anything that moves. There are so many of these on the streets that they create traffic jams in certain areas. The passengers and often the drivers are seen drinking alcohol. Accidents do happen as they sometimes crash into each other and people fall off the back.
This may sound like the “Grinch that Stole Songkran”, but I’m all for it. Alcohol is one of the main reasons behind fatal accidents during the Songkran holiday. Combine this with having a bucket of water being thrown at moving motorcycles then this is a recipe for disaster. Really the police should go a step further and ban people on main roads throwing water at vehicles. That is just as dangerous. Far better to close a section of road and allow people to play Songkran on foot like they do on Khao San and Silom.
There were 859 fatalities and 10,608 injuries caused by road accidents during Songkran from 2009-2011. Don’t you think it’s worth banning vehicles carrying water and drinking of alcohol in certain areas if it helps bring these numbers down? But, as I’m sure you are aware, the laws in Thailand are not the problem, it is the lack of enforcement.