Cabinet endorses new law to get tough on public transport and traffic offenders

The cabinet on Wednesday approved a land traffic bill which will seek to require public transport such as buses to be fitted with safety belts for passengers and to empower transport officials to seize or suspend the driver's licenses of motorists or to withhold the issuance of road tax permits in case motorists refuse to pay fines within 15 days after they were given traffic tickets.

Government assistant spokesman Colonel Apisit Chainuwat said that the drafters of the land traffic bill had carefully studied the traffic fine issue by taking into consideration the models used in the other countries to come up with our own model which is appropriate.

He stated that proposed changes of the land traffic law were intended to dissuade traffic violators from repeating the offences and to discipline motorists.

The bill aims to tackle five traffic problems which include drunk driving, speeding beyond permissible limits, driver's licenses, public transport and safety belts.

Further elaborating on the bill, Colonel Apisit said the bill sought to increase the weight of public transport from 1,600 kgs to 2,200 kgs and the drivers of public transport will be required to provide safety belts for all the passengers.

As for traffic tickets which were mostly ignored by traffic offenders, he said that, in the future, the offenders will have to pay fines within 15 days of receiving the tickets, failing that they may have their licenses suspended. On top of that, he said repeated traffic offenders will face fines twice the normal amount.

Government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the Royal Thai Police Office had wanted the police database about traffic violators to be linked up with the database of the Land Transport Department which is in charge of issuing driver's licenses and the annual road tax permits so that traffic offenders are made to pay fines or their will be denied the road tax permits which will make them unable to drive legally.

In most cases, traffic violators ignore traffic tickets issued by the police because they know they can get away with the tickets and still can continue to drive as normal because the Land Transport Department officials will not bother to demand the fines on behalf of the police.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)