The news follows the Cabinet earlier this month approving the move ‘in principle’ to increase the speed limit on highways ro 120km/h, but left the actual implementation of the law change to the Transport Ministry. The speed limit change has yet to come into effect.
Under the conditions of the law change is that it will apply only highways with at least two lanes running in the same direction and traffic islands with barriers, which Phuket has aplenty.
However, the roads must also not have a ground-level U-turns, which all major roads in Phuket have.
“We do not have that type of road in Phuket, so we cannot apply the regulation here,” Phuket Highways Chief Somwang Lohamut told The Phuket News.
“In Phuket, we have ground-level U-turns and traffic islands with trees and power poles,” he said.
“At this stage, only one road in the country is eligible for this new regulation and that is Route 32, locally known as ‘Sai Asia Road’ and the ‘Bang Pa-in-Nakhon Sawan road’, which is the main road for traveling from Central Thailand to the North,” Mr Somwang said.
“Phuket people still have to follow the Road Traffic Act, B.E. 2522,” Mr Somwang concluded.
Maj Kritthath Onjan of Phuket Provincial Police confirmed to The Phuket News that the fastest speed limit on the island is 90km/h.
“The speed limit will actually be less than 90km/h, depending on the area,” he said.
“The speed limit depends on the type of the road, the location and the type of vehicle. If the road is near a local community, the speed limit will be lowered to about 60km/h. If the vehicle is a truck, then the speed limit will be even lower,” Maj Kritthath explained.
“Whatever the speed limit is set by the sign posted beside the road, please drive slowly and maintain control of your vehicle because there are a lot of accidents on Phuket’s roads,” he said.
“Remember, traffic police will catch and charge drivers for speeding,” Maj Kritthath warned.
Of note, former Phuket Highways Office Chief Samak Liedwonghat in 2015 confirmed that the speed limit signs in Phuket with a white background and a red circle are in fact advisory only, and not mandatory.
Lt Col Teerawat Liamsakun, Phuket City Police Chief at the time, also confirmed that speed limit signs were advisory only, but added, “If drivers don’t want to comply, they may have an accident.
“Actually, speed is limited by law on this road [the bypass road] to 80km/h in tessabaan (municipal) areas and 90km/h in other parts. Our speed cameras are set to detect vehicles going faster than 100. Anyone caught going faster than that risks receiving a speeding ticket in the mail,” Col Teerawat warned.