New drunk driving laws on the way

There was a piece in The Nation yesterday about proposed amendments to the Land Transport Act 1979, which will make alcohol tests mandatory for drunk drivers. Those who refuse the test will be considered to be drunk and punished accordingly.

According to the article, the proposals should be in effect in time for the 2007 Songkran Festival.

While I am all for measures (including laws) to tackle the problem of drink driving, the real question has to be: Will the law be enforced in a consistent and serious manner? It seems that every other week we are reading about some form of crackdown on something in Thailand, but often there seems to be very little in the way of follow through.

Regardless, I urge everyone to make it a personal law to never drink and drive. Do your part to make the roads less dangerous.

December 18, 2006

Justice to amend law to make alcohol test mandatory for drunk drivers

The Justice Ministry is pushing for a traffic law amendment to force suspected drunk drivers to take an alcohol test and to permit police to detain those who refuse the test.

Permanent secretary for Justice Charan Phakdithanakul said Monday at the launch of the "Young People Against Drink Driving" campaign the ministry had drafted two amendments to the Land Transportation Act 1979.

The proposals would be presented to the Cabinet before being submitted to the National Legislative Assembly. They should be in effect for the next Songkran Festival, which is notorious for its annual road carnage caused by drinkdriving.

The first amendment would force suspected drunk drivers to take a breath or a blood-alcohol test. Anyone who refuses can be automatically considered by police officers as being drunk, punishable by up to three months in jail and/or a fine of up to Bt10,000.

Currently, refusal to take a test draws the lighter penalty of obstructing police, punishable by a fine of Bt1,000 compared Bt4,000 and a year in jail for drink drivers.

The second amendment makes it mandatory for all involved in motor accidents to submit to alcohol tests instead of leaving it to a police officer's assessment, Charan said. Later, a fund would be established to help victims of drunk driving accidents.

Another fine report from The Nation. I recommend reading more articles from them. [4/5]