“Today (April 5) is the first day of the new seat belt law enforcement in Phuket, and Thailand,” Lt Col Jirawat Laemsuwan, Deputy Chief of Phuket City Traffic Police, told The Phuket News today.
Traffic Police officers have been advised to issue warnings first, Col Jirawat explained.
“But the decision of whether or not to issue (a passenger) a fine for not wearing a seatbelt remains with the officer involved. They can if they want to,” he warned.
The fine for passengers not wearing seatbelts in small vehicles, such as car, pickup trucks and taxis, is not more than B500, Col Jirawat noted.
“The fine is the same as a driver not wearing a seatbelt in any vehicle,” he added.
However, Col Jirawat cautioned, “Passengers in vans and tour vehicles can be fined up to B5,000.”
However, Col Jirawat added, “The law does not apply to any vehicles registered before 1994 as seatbelts were not required by law to be fitted in the back seats of cars at that time.”
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha introduced the new law last month (Mar 21) through the broad-ranging powers of Article 44 of the interim Constitution. (See story here.)
The law follows a horrific accident in which 25 people were killed when a fatigued van driver ploughed into a truck in Chonburi province during the New Year holidays.