100 baht fines for traffic violators

100 baht fines for traffic violators

Tha Rua police station offers to reduce fines by 90% if people pass traffic law test

A Tha Rua police officer demonstrates how to do a computer-based test on traffic rules that his station has designed for traffic violators. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A Tha Rua police officer demonstrates how to do a computer-based test on traffic rules that his station has designed for traffic violators. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Tha Rua police station has come up with a new way to get minor traffic law violators to pay up and learn the rules of the road at the same time by offering them the option of reduced fines if they agree to sit an exam.

Motorists who commit minor offences in the area under the station's jurisdiction and who pass the traffic rules test will pay 100 baht, or less than one-tenth the original fine, courtesy of the new campaign.

Tha Rua station, of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, covers some parts of Klong Toey and Phra Khanong districts.

Under the scheme, those charged with minor traffic offences will be allowed to sit an exam consisting of 30 multiple choice questions about common traffic rules and laws. If they can get at least 80% or 24 questions correct, their fine will be reduced.

However, only motorists who have committed up to four minor traffic offences with maximum fines not exceeding 1,000 baht will be allowed to sit the test.

Offences that are settled under this campaign include using vehicles with incomplete parts or equipment, not carrying driving licences while driving, not wearing crash helmets, not fastening safety belts, and using mobile phones while driving.

But those responsible for offences that inconvenience other road users or create traffic problems -- such as parking in a no-parking zone, parking in a way that obstructs traffic, driving on walkways, drink driving, or jumping stop lights -- will not have have the option of taking the test and lowering the fine.

The purpose of the campaign is to educate road users on traffic rules and laws so that they do not repeat the same mistakes, according to Pol Col Sombat Kaenvijit, superintendent of Tha Rua police station.

It also aims to encourage those have not paid their tickets to clear their fines, he said.

"I've seen so many people saying they do not know the traffic laws, and most of them also ask for a reduced fine when they come to pay at my station," Pol Col Sombat added.

"So these incidents gave me the idea to create this campaign, which can help solve both of these problems at the same time."

Pol Col Sombat said that since the campaign was launched a few months ago, the feedback and response he has received has been positive.

The number of traffic violators paying their fines at the station has also increased steadily, he said.

"We have received some great feedback from those members of the public who know about this campaign," he added.

"So we have not yet decided when to end it. If everything goes well, we may keep it up and running."

Pol Sen Sgt Maj Tunyarat Srikulwong, a police officer at Tha Rua police station, said most traffic offenders coming to pay their fines at the station did not know that there was such a campaign, but when they were informed, 90% of them were willing to take the exam.

"I always present our campaign to them and ask if they want to give it a try," she said.

"I would say that about half the test takers pass the test, while the other half fail. I think the questions we ask in the exam are not too difficult, if they read the guidelines we prepare for them in the form of a document. But some people don't want to spend that much time at the police station," she added.

Sommai Phoduang, 45, a motorbike taxi rider in Klong Toey district, said he thinks it's a good idea that the police are carrying out this campaign and he would be interested in taking the exam if he is ever violates minor traffic laws and gets fined.

"Everybody wants to save money in their pocket, so why not take a simple exam?" he said.

Tossaporn Petchpol, 21, a motorcycle rider, said he sometimes had to keep his traffic tickets unpaid for weeks or months because he did not have enough money to pay them at the time, so he was happy to hear there was a way to reduce traffic fines.

"The fines usually cost me 400-500 baht each time, which is a lot of money for me, so sometimes I've had to bribe the police in order to avoid the inconvenience, or just kept the ticket until I got enough money. But if the fines are reduced to just 100 baht, I would rather go pay them at the police station right away," he said.

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