Thailand: 239 people killed in road accidents New Year's weekend

The death toll was counted between December 28 - 31

Photo of traffic in Bangkok

Photo of traffic in Bangkok (By Wikimedia Commons)

BANGKOK (dpa) -- 239 people have been killed in road accidents across Thailand during the new year watch period, the Department of Disaster Prevention said on Monday.

The death toll was counted between December 28 - 31, the first four days of the seven-day watch period where road accidents in the country are expected to peak.

The number is lower than that from the same period last year, at 280. A total of 478 people died during the new year period last year.

65 people died on Sunday - New Year's Eve - alone.

Almost half of the accidents were caused by drink driving, while over a quarter was attributed to speeding, the authorities say.

Up to 80 per cent of the accidents involved motorcycles, a popular mode of transportation in  the South-East Asian nation.

In 2015, a World Health Organization report found that Thailand was second only to Libya for road deaths. 

The agency estimated that as many as 36.2 people per 100,000 die on the country's roadways, or around 24,237 people per year.

But in November, the World Atlas website ranked Thailand's roads as the world's deadliest, followed by Malawi and Liberia.