Govt to adopt 'tough' points-based driving penalties

Govt to adopt 'tough' points-based driving penalties

Thailand's new traffic laws will be based on the more stringent Japanese model, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The ministry has been working with Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), according to Chirute Visalachitra, the ministry's deputy permanent secretary.

MLIT has shared knowledge about its success in using a licence point-deduction system to improve discipline among Japanese drivers, said Mr Chirute.

The system will be incorporated into the new land transport bill, which merges the 1979 Automobile Act with the 1979 Land Transport Act, and is currently entering the final stages of drafting, he said.

Mr Chirute did not spell out when the system will come into force as it requires the databases of a number of related agencies to be linked.

"The Japanese traffic point-deducting system comes with very tough penalties and is focused mainly on protecting the safety of pedestrians," said an official source familiar with the drafting of this law.

In the draft bill, failing to stop at traffic lights would mean two points being deducted and a fine of between 1,800 baht and 3,200 baht.

Failure to stop or slow down to allow pedestrians to use to a crossing point will be fined up to 4,000 baht.

Licences will be suspended for up to 180 days if more than six points are deducted in any three-year period.

Drink-driving carries a potential 35-point penalty, a maximum jail term of five years and/or a fine of up to 300,000 baht, as well as a five-year driving licence suspension.

Passengers and owners (if not the driver) cars involved in cases of drink-driving charge will also bear legal responsibility.

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