Sommai Sutkhao, Director of the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO), confirmed the news today (Jan 6).
“Their vehicles have already been returned to them, but they have had their commercial driver’s licenses suspended for six months as they were found guilty of drunk driving,” Mr Sommai told The Phuket News earlier today.
“Everyone knows that that the nationwide Seven Days of Danger road-safety campaign was also held in Phuket, and for me this was simple enough – people must not drink and drive,” he said.
“Those who are caught doing so face the penalties, which are up to one year imprisonment, a fine of B5,000 to B20,000 or both, and having their driver’s licence suspended for six months,” Mr Sommai added.
Mr Sommai confirmed the five commercial drivers whose licenses were suspended were the only commercial drivers caught breaking any traffic laws during the Seven Days of Danger road-safety campaign, which began on Dec 29 and concluded on Wednesday (Jan 4).
However, Mr Sommai declined to name the drivers and declined to name the companies and taxi services the drivers work for.
Col Kamol Osiri, Chief of the Phuket City Police, also declined to identify the drivers and offending tour and taxi companies.
However, Col Kamol noted that harsher penalties for drunk driving were introduced last year. Under the new laws, the BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) limit for professional and commercial drivers, and drivers under 24 years old, is zero, he said.
Meanwhile, Col Kamol called for all drivers whose vehicles were seized during the Seven Days campaign to collect them from the police station.
“A total of 131 vehicles were seized across Phuket during the campaign,” Col Kamol said.
“In our area of operations, which comprises Talad Nuea and Talad Yai (Phuket Town), Kok Kaew and Rassada, our officers seized seven cars and 20 motorbikes, as well as the two vans and three taxis,” he explained.
Some motorists have reclaimed their vehicles, but motorcycles have yet to picked up from the police station, Col Kamol noted.
“They can take them back now, but the owner or representative of the rental-vehicle company that owns the vehicle must come to collect them,” he said.
“If the vehicle does belong to a rental operator, then the representative must bring the rental agreement that person renting the vehicle signed in order to get the vehicle back,” Col Kamol added.
“There is no need to hold these vehicles any longer as evidence, we have what we need already for pressing charges and processing fines,” he said.
The penalties for drunk driving are:
- Drunk driving: Up to one year imprisonment or a fine of B5,000 to B20,000 or both, and driver’s licence suspended for six months.
- Drunk driving causing bodily or mental harm to others: One to five years imprisonment or a fine of B20,000 to B100,000 or both, and driver’s licence suspended for up to one year.
- Drunk driving causing serious injury to others: Two to six years imprisonment or a fine of B40,000 to B120,000 or both, and driver’s licence suspended for up to two years.
- Drunk driving causing death: Three to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of B60,000 to B200,000 and your driver’s licence will be cancelled. Whether you will be allowed to apply for a driver’s licence again during your lifetime is up to the court.