Phone use must now be handsfree if driving

Phone use must now be handsfree if driving

Chatree Watanakechorn, Bangkok deputy city clerk, raises a sign warning drivers not to use mobile phones while at the wheel, during the Songkran festival in April this year. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Chatree Watanakechorn, Bangkok deputy city clerk, raises a sign warning drivers not to use mobile phones while at the wheel, during the Songkran festival in April this year. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Motorists using a mobile phone must use a handsfree wireless connection under a new police regulation now in force nationwide, government deputy spokeswoman Tipanan Sirichana warned on Friday.

Ms Tipanan said making handsfree connection mandatory is intended to reduce accidents, injuries and loss of life resulting from motorists using mobile phones while driving.

A Royal Thai Police Office announcement issued under Section 43 (9) of the Land Traffic Act of 1979, which prohibits drivers from using a telephone or a communication radio, except with auxiliary equipment to enable them to talk without holding the telephone, took effect on Oct 7, she said.

Drivers are allowed to use mobile phones while at the wheel on the condition they must have a wireless connection device or a speaker phone affixed, so they do not have to hold the phone. 

The wireless connector must be fitted to the front of the vehicle and must not obstruct the driver's view. A driver needing to operate a mobile phone manually must park the vehicle before doing so.

Violators are liable to a fine of 400-1,000 baht.

The announcement is subject to a review after five years in use, based on opinions from the public.


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