Four major routes chosen for higher speed limit trials

Four major routes chosen for higher speed limit trials

Thai roads not designed for high speeds, accident research centre warns

Mittraphap is one of the four roads planned for a 120km/hour speed limit project. (Post Today photo)
Mittraphap is one of the four roads planned for a 120km/hour speed limit project. (Post Today photo)

The Transport Ministry is planning to test a controversial 120km/hour speed limit on Phahon Yothin, Mittraphap, Sukhumvit and Phetkasem — four key roads that link Bangkok to the rest of the country.

However, which sections of the routes will be chosen for the new speed limit is still being studied, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said, adding that he picked the routes because of their high traffic volume.

Mr Saksayam wants personal cars to drive faster in the right lanes in order to ease traffic congestion. The existing speed limit, which is set at 80kph, is oudated and requires an update.

“What we’re going to do is nothing new. Other countries have already applied certain speed limits on certain lanes,” Mr Saksayam added.

Four-lane roads in Thailand can handle different speed limits. The maximum speed limit in the farthest right lane should raised to 120kph and the limit on the adjacent lanes to the left should be adjusted to 100, 80 and 60kph respectively.

The new restrictions are likely to be imposed on parts of Phahon Yothin, which runs to the North, Mittraphap to the North East, Sukhumvit to the East and Phetkasem to the South.

The goal is to reduce the number of drivers who “enjoy driving slowly” in the two right lanes, Mr Saksayam said.

He vowed to act against such drivers if they do not follow appropriate speed limits on these lanes. “The drivers will be warned and fined if they recommit the offence."

The minister has set up a panel, led by permanent secretary for transport Chaiwat Thongkamkoon, to translate his policy into practice. Other members include national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda and Bangkok governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang.

They will meet next week and get things done as soon as possible.

“I want the new speed limits to take effect by today or tomorrow,” Mr Saksayam said.

However, there are some key steps his policy must go through, including consideration by the Commission for the Management of Land Traffic.

The policy is being put ahead amid concerns raised by the Thailand Accident Research Centre at the Asian Institute of Technology. It said in a letter recently sent to Mr Saksayam that roads in Thailand and its infrastructure are designed to support a speed limit between 90kph and 110kph.

The change will lead to more accidents, it warned.

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