The Songkran Festival is one of Thailand’s most exciting holiday period with locals enjoying their holiday and tourists from all over the world coming in to join the water wars that will be taking place nationwide. The Songkran period is also one of the most dangerous time periods for both drivers and passengers.

The main reason for so many accidents occurring on the roads during Songkran is mainly from alcohol consumption adding to the fact that there are so many cars on the road. Most Thai citizens will travel back to their hometown as this is a part of the culture of Thailand and is a nationwide holiday. One of the occupations that remain working is traffic police. Some traffic police even have to work harder in the celebration of Thai New Year to prevent as many road accidents as they possibly can.

 

Sanook has gathered the top 5 reasons why you might be pulled over while driving on this Songkran. This information is to help you be more aware of your actions to protect yourself and others on the road from danger.

 

  1. Driving under the Influence.
  • Punishment includes no more than 1 year in jail, or 10,000 to 20,000 THB fine, or both.

Driving while drunk is the no.1 reason for road accidents during the festive water wars period. Other than possibly being put in jail for a year and fined a large sum of money, in worst cases your license can be seized for at least 6 months, or a decision by the court to seize your driver’s license permanently. Your car can also be seized from your possession for up to 7 days.

 

If you happen to already cause an accident on the road that leads to the injury of another person the punishment increases to 2 to 6 years in jail, or 40,000 THB to 120,000 THB fine, or both. The court can also seize your driver’s license for at least 2 years or permanently.

 

If someone has died from the result of your recklessness by driving drunk, the punishment will increase to 3 to 10 years in jail, or 60,000 to 200,000 THB fine, and an immediate seizure of your driver’s license.

 

  1. Drinking while driving, or while sitting in a moving vehicle.
  • Punishment includes no more than 6 months in jail, or no more than 10,000 THB fine, or both.

If you happen to be called over while having a nice alcoholic drink in the car while driving or sitting in the seat of the car then you are violating the laws on traffic. This violation does not include the case if you happen to be already drunk while driving or sitting in the vehicle.

 

If you are drunk and still drinking while seated in the vehicle this is illegal. But, if you are drunk and sitting in the car with no alcoholic drink then this is not illegal. For example, you called a taxi after you left the bar drunk, but you were not drinking in the taxi. The police calls the taxi over and finds your drunk in the back seat, this is not illegal.

 

  1. Driving over the speed limit.
  • Punishment is a fine not exceeding 1,000 THB.

Normally, on the roads in the main city of each province, the speed limit is set at 80 Kilometers per hour and 90 Kilometers per hour outside the city. This can be more or less on some roads, make sure to keep an eye out for the speed limit on each road. Expressways and Motorways normally allow a higher speed limit than normal routes.

 

  1. Parking violation
  • Punishment is a fine not exceeding 500 THB.

Drivers often decide to park where their not supposed to in Songkran, normally because parking is full from so many vehicles traveling on the road. The fine is minimal, but if your tire happens to be locked then a lot of time will be wasted on traveling to the police station to pay your fine and back to have the lock removed.

 

  1. Using your phone while driving
  • Punishment is a fine not exceeding 1,000 THB.

Using your phone while driving no matter what for is illegal, because it is a great distraction from keeping your eyes on the road. If it is necessary to use your phone then make sure to have extra proper accessories such as wireless earphones, and a phone stand to keep the phone in place and at eye level if you need to use Google Maps.