Thai traffic police reviewing changing penalities for driving offences, passengers possibly to also be held liable
Traffic police are discussing with other agencies amendments to the penalties for drink-drivers and repeat offenders on Thai roads.
There are calls for harsher punishments in line with the Japanese model that penalises both the drink-driver and any passenger who “abetted the wrongdoing”, said Maj-General Ekkarak Limsangkatt, a member of the committee reviewing of traffic-law enforcement. This would mean that if a vehicle was pulled over and the driver tested positive for being drunk, all occupants of the vehicle would be held responsible.
Ekkarak was speaking after a meeting earlier yesterday at Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok.
Among proposals discussed were the issuance of traffic tickets and harsher sentences for repeat offenders based on evidence gathered by Police Ticket Management (PTM) over the last three years.
The PTM collates information on traffic offences and provides recommendations that enhance road safety measures.
Yesterday’s meeting, presided over by Lt-General Roy Inghapairoj, assistant to the National Police Commissioner, was told that 11.7 million traffic tickets had been issued in 2018, a 39 per cent rise on the 8.6 million the year before.
Among those ticketed was the driver of a cargo truck who received no less than 144 tickets in a single year, for repeatedly speeding and failing to stay in the slow lane reserved for trucks. He was caught by traffic cameras.
A total of 1,507 drink-driving repeat offenders were arrested in the past four years, the meeting was told.
Ekkarak said the findings showed drivers were insufficiently afraid of the law and the consequences of breaking it. He said a legal amendment to the 1979 Land Traffic Act, which should soon be in effect, would introduce a points system to deter motorists from re-offending.
He said such a points system would not have worked in the past because all drivers’ licences were paper-based, meaning the police and Department of Land Transport could not cooperate to catch offenders.
“This new law will require the two agencies to link databases and online information so the driving-licence points system is implemented effectively and practically,” he said.
The meeting also heard a proposal that motorists with multiple tickets be allowed to pay them off in a lump sum for a discount, in order to clear the backlog of unpaid tickets,
However, Ekkarak said police officers could not take that decision themselves so the proposal would need to be discussed by their superiors and the Cabinet.