Govt amends 1979 Traffic Act

Govt amends 1979 Traffic Act

The cabinet has approved a bill to amend the 1979 Traffic Act that will allow doctors to test unconscious motorists or passengers in a vehicle for alcohol consumption, says deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.

The bill, sponsored by the Royal Thai Police, will authorise investigators to request doctors perform these checks.

Under the current law, doctors are barred from carrying out testing without the consent of the motorists or passengers.

Doctors have to wait until the injured parties regain consciousness before they can obtain permission to conduct the test.

The checks are typically required to gauge the level of alcohol consumption in a driver or passenger.

Ms Rachada said the checks, which will be conducted while a person is unconscious, must not harm the victims' health.

Also, the amendment incorporates a proposal where vehicles, including motorcycles, are permitted to use the far right lane of a road, currently reserved for the overtaking of other vehicles.

In addition, the rules on the wearing of seat belts will be tightened. Both drivers and passengers have a legal duty to wear the belts at all times while vehicles are in motion.

Children under the age of six are barred from sitting in the front passenger seat unless they are in a safety seat.

Front passenger seats are also not to be occupied by two or more people while a vehicle is moving.

To deter street racing, those travelling together in a group exceeding five vehicles can be presumed by police to be involved in illegal racing activities. They will need to prove this is not the case.

People who drive while their driver's licence is suspended will face a jail term of up to three months, a maximum fine of 10,000 baht, or both, Ms Rachada added.

The licence will be suspended either as a result of the driver having had all of their demerit points exhausted or the driver having committed a serious traffic violation.

The amendment bill has been vetted by the Council of State, the government's legal arm, and will be presented to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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