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The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) agreed in principle on Thursday (Jan 17) to amend the 1979 Land Transport Act to replace the old traffic violation ticketing system with a digital one.
Tabled by Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the proposed amendment sailed through its first reading.
The bill requires the Royal Thai Police (RTP) and the Land Transport Department to jointly develop an electronic database to include motorists’ personal details, previous traffic violations and vehicle registration information.
This will make it easier for traffic police to record new violations and deduct points from drivers flouting traffic laws.
Those whose traffic point balance reaches zero from an original 12 will face a 90-day driving licence suspension and be required to undergo traffic regulation training, the amendment stipulates. This will also allow for more payment options including those done electronically, via the post office payment service, and at banks.
During Thursday’s reading, several NLA members pushed for more e-payment channels to be included, and for the law to clearly state that a hard copy of a driving licence will no longer be required when electronic ones are recognised under this law.
This amendment will be added before the next reading.
Since Tuesday, the Land Transport Department has allowed motorists to download a smartphone application to display an electronic version of their driving licence.
The police, however, insist motorists still need a hard copy of their driving licence until the Land Transport Act is amended to authorise traffic police to issue traffic fines or other punishments for traffic violations electronically.
The same bill also authorises traffic police to fine cyclists up to B500 for riding under the influence of alcohol or any other substances deemed a risk.
Pol Maj Gen Eakkarak Limsanggas, head of the RTP committee assigned to resolve traffic problems, said that under the current law, police are only authorised to warn drunk cyclists.
Officers cannot take legal action against them as there is no law covering this offence, he said.
As for calls for better regulation of motorists who habitually drive slowly in the fast lane, the Interior Ministry and Transport Ministry have almost finished amending ministerial regulations to adjust speed limits, he said.
The work is about 95% complete, he said.