Thailand’s health ministry is pushing for a rule that would allow blood tests for alcohol on drivers who cannot or will not take a breath test as part of efforts to curb drink-driving.
the pl. Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said under a new rule motorists who break traffic rules must undergo blood tests for alcohol if they do not take a breath test. “If they refuse a breath test, they are considered drunk. Those unable to take a breath test will have to have a blood test at the discretion of the police,” he said.
The test results will be kept for consideration when they apply to renew their driver’s licenses, he said.
Sathit said that during the “Seven Dangerous Days” campaign during the New Year holidays, a certain budget was spent on blood tests on road users, which were carried out without the need for a rule.
Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, the head of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said the DDC is responsible for enforcing the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, adding that a blood test for alcohol costs about 1,000 baht per motorist.
About 1-2 million baht was spent conducting blood tests on motorists during a traffic safety campaign over the Lunar New Year holiday, said Dr. grandfathers. During the New Year holidays, the Department of Medical Sciences analyzed a total of 784 blood samples, of which 55% showed an alcohol content above the legal limit.
If the new rule applies, it would take between 20 and 30 million baht annually to take blood tests from motorists who cannot or do not want to take a breath test, said Dr Opas.
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