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Harsh lessons for unlicensed drivers a must

NATIONWIDE: Authorities insist harsher penalties for unlicensed drivers are needed for public safety because many young unlicensed motorcyclists cause fatal accidents.

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By Bangkok Post

Saturday 25 August 2018, 09:01AM


Several hundred young motorcyclists and pillion riders are stopped on Vibhavadi Rangsit Rd in Bangkok on their way to Nakhon Nayok province in 2015. Authorities said on Friday that harsher penalties are planned to tackle a large number of unlicensed young motorcyclists. Photo: Bangkok Post  / File

Several hundred young motorcyclists and pillion riders are stopped on Vibhavadi Rangsit Rd in Bangkok on their way to Nakhon Nayok province in 2015. Authorities said on Friday that harsher penalties are planned to tackle a large number of unlicensed young motorcyclists. Photo: Bangkok Post / File

They held a press conference at the Royal Thai Police Office yesterday (Aug 24) to respond to strong criticisms against legal amendments to punish unlicensed drivers with a jail term of up to three months or a fine of up to B50,000.

Kamol Buranapong, deputy director-general of the Land Transport Department, said the amendment was aimed at raising public awareness on road safety and drivers’ social responsibility.

“Research shows that 34% of unlicensed motorcyclists died in accidents. The rate is twice as much as licensed motorcyclists,” he said.

“This is to instil in drivers the awareness so they strictly follow traffic rules. It will play an important role in reducing accidents and the losses of life and properties,” Mr Kamol said.

The newly planned penalties under a merged law were actually slightly harsher than those of two present laws, he said. He referred to a jail term of up to one month or a fine of up to B1,000 under the vehicle act and a jail term of up to two years and a fine of up to B40,000 under the land transport act.

The proposed punishment was based on academic research and international standards, Mr Kamol said.

Dr Tanapong Jinwong from the Road Safety Thai organisation said 1,688 local people aged 15-19 died in road accidents yearly.

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He also said unlicensed drivers faced a jail term of up to one year or a fine of up to B88,000 in Japan and a term of up to five years or a fine of up to B800,000 in the United States.

“The legal amendment is key to safe driving. Licensed drivers are those who have received safe driving training,” he said.

Assoc Prof Kanawee Kanitpong, manager of the Thailand Accident Research Centre, said about 60% of motorcyclists had no driving licences and their accident risks were twice those of licensed motorcyclists. Most unlicensed motorcyclists were below 24 years old, he said.

Maj Gen Ekarak Limsangkat, a Special Branch police commander, said that under the laws in effect today, driving without a licence was considered a minor offence with a fine of up to B1,000.

As a result, they fail to deter offenders, many of whom are willing to pay fines or even continue driving without a licence, he said.

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Rene | 28 August 2018 - 17:16:09

Sorry Sir, u talk nonsens. The namend countries have adjusted the penalties to the income. And in Thailand the income is much lower. The way of the bribe is followed. That's all.

Kurt | 26 August 2018 - 11:34:32

Jail terms? No way, Thailand's prisons host each already triple the number of prisoners they are built for.
The RTP will handle it financial mediation way only. With present vehicle act and land transport act they can send violators already to prison. It never happens.

Shwe | 26 August 2018 - 04:45:55

I would agree with these penalties if the driving test was a real test and not the farce that it is, also if RTP did their job and enforce these laws. A bigger fine is an incentive for bigger tea money

Foot | 25 August 2018 - 17:32:20

What a novel idea to enforce traffic laws.

The plan is to punish unlicensed drivers with a jail term of up to three months or a fine of up to B50,000, up slightly from before.  No likely.

The amendment was aimed at raising public awareness on road safety and drivers’ social responsibility.

Actual enforcement would take real work.

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