Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob says he will increase speed limit to 120 kilometres per hour on sections of selected highways as surveys show most people support it.
The minister said on Monday his ministry conducted opinion surveys which showed 71% of the respondents agreed with the increase in the highway speed limit from 90 to 120 km/h.
Ministry officials are drafting a ministerial regulation for the new speed limit, to be submitted to the government's land traffic management committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon this month, Mr Saksayam said.
The new regulation sets different speed limits for different traffic lanes on selected highways. According to the transport minister, on a selected section of highways, there will be separate lanes for 80-120 km/h, 80-100 km/h and speeds slower than 80 km/h. On fast lanes, officials will enforce both minimum and maximum speed limits.
"The 120 km/h limit will apply on some sections of some routes. Traffic must be slow at curves and near communities and schools," Mr Saksayam said.
He planned to initially introduce the new speed measure on a 150km section of Highway 32 (Asian Highway) between Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya province and Nakhon Sawan province and sections of Mitrapharp Highway in the Northeast and Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok.
The minister said that 29% of the respondents who disagreed with the speed limit increase said it could increase road accidents; highway conditions were not good enough for faster speeds; motorists lacked discipline and might again violate the new speed limit; and law enforcement could be lax.
Mr Saksayam said that highways would be improved and better traffic barriers would be installed to suit the faster speed limit.