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Thailand should recognise tourists’ driver’s licences, says poll

PHUKET: A whopping 78% of respondents to an online poll have called for police and other officials who assist in enforcing traffic laws to recognise tourists’ driver’s licenses issued in their home countries.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 3 January 2018, 09:20AM

The poll overwhelmingly called for Thai police to recognise foreign driver’s licences.

The poll overwhelmingly called for Thai police to recognise foreign driver’s licences.

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?”

QSI International School Phuket

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.



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Christy Sweet | 14 August 2018 - 09:40:21

I'd also like to say the education vid I had to watch recently was extremely sexist, the adult  female was called Good Girl.  All in all, the entire premise was be polite and do not honk at people angrily.
 I wish some  more emphasis could be put on the propensity of macho males to enter the opposing lane on blind curves- that's the one I  detest the  most, especially the cement trucks. G...

Christy Sweet | 14 August 2018 - 09:26:20

Thailand should recognize the title Ms. ("Not in computer,") and stop the archaic, sexist forcing of women to reveal marital status on  their Driver's License with Mrs. or Miss. It's not anyone's business - just like for  men. 

chooselocal | 13 August 2018 - 15:40:42

I have an International Driver\'s Permit obtained from a business in Chalong. They assured me that this will be valid in Thailand and that when stopped by police, I will be able to present this license as a valid form of identification and a driver\'s permit. I was stopped today by officers from the Chalong police dept and fined. They said the IDP is not valid in Thailand. 

Foot | 03 January 2018 - 16:50:31

Foreigners shouldn't be allowed to drive a motorbike without a bike license from their home country.  Riding one here is dangerous enough for those who actually have experience.

Discover Thainess | 03 January 2018 - 14:23:27

So roughly 1,000 fines @ THB 500 each that’s nearly half a million baht into police coffers in just a couple of days. I can’t see much incentive to accept foreign licenses, can anyone else? Kerrrr- ching ! 

Belzybob | 03 January 2018 - 11:24:45

The IDP might be of value to the RTP if it had a Thai translation, which of course it doesn't.

Werni | 03 January 2018 - 11:05:22

I'm holding a valid Thai and Japanese driving license. But going to Europe renting a car, I require to produce an IDP. Why should that be different in Thailand ?

Fascinated | 03 January 2018 - 09:58:11

The way I understand it the purpose of an IDP is to show an English translation of a foreign licence. Therefore if the licence is in English there should be no need for it, Only those not written in English require it. It's just an easy way for the cops to make money. The important thing should be that no one should be on a bike without the apropriate licence- a car licence does not cut it.

Kurt | 03 January 2018 - 09:41:15

It is time Thailand throw away its insular domestic shield about many things.
One thing is the driving license of foreign visitors, in Thailand on a 'holiday visa'.
When will thai like to accept that any foreign driving license has more value than the thai driving license, you can obtain without 1 meter driving on a thai public road?
Get rid of that thai insular thinking.

That so cal...

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