Handsfree only: New penalties for using a mobile phone while driving in Thailand

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Tougher rules for drivers caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel are now in effect, government deputy spokesperson Tipanan Sirichana announced on Friday.

From now on, motorists must use a hands free connection if they need to make a call while at the wheel and are not allowed to have hold of their phone.

The regulation also applies when drivers are sitting in stationary traffic.

Under the new regulation, use of a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel will be punished whether a driver is making a call, using it on loudspeaker, texting, filming, taking a picture or using the internet.

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Drivers who fail to adhere to the new rules face fines of between 400 THB and 1,000 THB.

If a driver needs to handle their phone manually, they must park their vehicle safely before doing so.

Ms Tipanan says the new regulation is intended to help boost road safety by reducing accidents, injuries and deaths as a result of motorists using a mobile phone while driving.

Ms Tipanan said the new regulation, which came into effect on Oct 7, is covered under Section 43 (9) of the Land Traffic Act of 1979, which prohibits drivers holding and/or using a mobile phone while driving.

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