A new penalty point deduction system for traffic violations will come into force from January 9.
Officials have said that people who lose all points will be banned from driving for up to 90 days.
The new point system will be in place for drivers of cars and motorcycles and is being introduced in an effort to improve road safety and reduce the number of road traffic accidents in Thailand.
Every motorist will begin with 12 points but will gradually lose points for violating traffic rules and/or failing to pay traffic fines, Highway Police Division commander Pol Maj-General Ekkarat Limsangkat has said.
Points will be deducted for a variety of violations, such as breaking the speed limit, failing to stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings, jumping a red light, using a mobile phone while driving, not wearing a motorcycle helmet and parking illegally.
“For minor offences, we will deduct one point. For serious offences, we will deduct four points,” Ekkarat said.
Running a red light or intentionally driving on the wrong side of the road would result in the deduction of two penalty points.
For more serious offences, drivers face losing more penalty points.
For example, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs would lose four penalty points.
Anyone who loses all their points will be banned from driving for 90 days. If a driver is banned for a fourth time in three years they face being banned from driving indefinitely.
However, any points that have been deducted will also be credited back to a driver’s total after a period of one year.
If a driver’s points total drops so low that they face being banned from driving, they can take a course on traffic laws and road safety in order to have points reinstated to their total.
“If drivers take a course with the Land Transport Department [LTD], they may get some points restored before the year ends,” Ekkarat added.
When the penalty point deduction system is in effect, drivers will be able to check how many points they have on the Royal Thai Police e-ticketing system website, which is available at https://ptm.police.go.th/eTicket/#/
“Police and the LTD systems will be linked to ensure smooth implementation,” Ekkarat said.
Meanwhile, Ekkarat also warned motorists that the new point system does not mean that those who break traffic laws would be spared fines or even jail time.
“As well as losing points, they will also be liable to legal action,” he said.
For example, if someone who has already been banned from driving is caught behind the wheel, they face up to three months in jail and/or a fine of 10,000 THB in accordance with the Traffic Law Act.
Titipat Thaijongrak, director of the Land Transport Safety Bureau said that Thailand is introducing the demerit point system because drivers are a key factor in improving road safety.
“Our upgraded system focuses on fostering conscientiousness, discipline, and road-safety awareness,” he said. “Our training and tests now also cover accident prediction and risk analysis to improve accident prevention.”
Thailand’s roads among the deadliest in the world
The Royal Thai Police and the Land Transport Department have said the move to introduce the demerit point system will help to improve road safety in Thailand, which is known to have some of the deadliest roads in the world.
According to a 2015 report from the World Health Organisation, Thailand had the world’s second-highest rate of road fatalities per capita, surpassed only by Libya.
When it comes to per-capita motorcycle deaths, Thailand ranks number one.
Approximately 20,000 people die in road accidents in Thailand each year, or about 56 deaths a day. The vast majority of deaths involve motorcyclists or pedestrians.
Only 12 percent of Thailand’s road traffic deaths involved occupants of cars or other light vehicles, according to the 2018 W.H.O. Global Status Report on Road Safety.
In May 2022, the Thai government set ambitious goals to slash road fatalities by almost two thirds within five years.
Improving road safety has been prioritized as part of the government’s 20 year national strategy.
The goal is to cut fatalities from traffic accidents to 12 persons per 100,000 population by 2027, from the 32.7 deaths per 100,000 people currently.