The issue came to a head last month as Phuket entered its tourism peak season, when more tourists started landing on the island ahead of the region’s busiest time of the year.
The current situation of why police in Thailand do not recognise tourists driver’s licences is a long and winding road, and flies in the face of Thailand signing international agreements arranged through the United Nations. (See story here.)
Also of note is that, to date, police have fined 953 people for operating a vehicle without a driver’s licence since the nationwide Seven Days of Danger road-safety campaign began last Thursday (Dec 28).
However, the Phuket Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Phuket office (DDPM-Phuket), which compiles the road accident reports for the campaign, does not report how many of these people were foreigners – be they expats or tourists.
Under the current application of the law, such foreigners’ driver’s licences are not recognised by Thailand – even if the foreigner is operating a rental vehicle.
To all this The Phuket News asked our readers the simple question, “Should tourists driver’s licences be recognised as legal?”
A total of 59% of respondents voted, “Of course Thailand should. The country signed the international conventions and is failing to uphold its commitment to the international community.”
A further 18% of respondents voted, “Yes, Thailand should – but only for selected countries and for limited periods of time.”
Despite the huge support for Thailand to recognise foreign driver’s licences, 23% of respondents still voted, “No. The current system already enforced with tourists having to present their original driver’s license and an International Driving Permit is enough.”
For the full poll results, click here.
If your preferred response was not available, feel free to add it in the comments below.
To see the results of our previous poll “How serious should the beach smoking ban be?”, click here.