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Driving slowly in high-speed lane to soon become a punishable offence

Jan 17. 2019
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MOTORISTS driving at low speed in right-hand lanes will soon be subjected to fines, thanks to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), giving a nod in principle to a draft law amending the Land Traffic Act yesterday.

The proposed law will also allow the use of an electronic driver’s licence.

Police representative Pol Maj-General Ekkalak Limsankart also called for new regulations to be issued that are clear and can prevent violators from evading justice. 

He cited a section in the draft law that will ban drunk people from riding bicycles on public roads or face a Bt500 fine, which he said was a response to drunk cyclists who, despite being arrested, managed to evade conviction because the current drunk-driving law excludes cyclists.

NLA members in principle approved the draft amendment of the Land Traffic Act in its first reading with 157:0 votes, two abstentions and one failure to cast a vote. 

A special committee was subsequently set up to consider the draft law.

Before voting, NLA members offered several suggestions including measures to detect corruption in issuing tickets, a review of using CCTV images to issue tickets as some motorists claim they were not driving at the time of the offence and measures |allowing officers’ discretion in case of such error. 

Many NLA members also called for motorists hogging the right-hand lane at low speed to be punished and for heavily |loaded trucks to be kept off the right-hand lane. 

Traffic regulation 

Driving slowly in the right-hand lane poses a great risk of road accidents, especially when being overtaken from the left, the assembly heard. 

Ekkalak told the NLA meeting that a ministerial regulation was being written and is nearly ready that will make driving slowly on the right-hand lane a traffic offence.

He also said that many motorists ignored traffic tickets until their driving score drops so low that their driver’s licence needs to be suspended. 

Hence, he said, every motorist should be required to attend training on traffic regulations and must pass the exam to restore their scores. 

Also, forcing them to pay for the training will discourage motorists from repeating |the offence, he added. As for a digital version of driving licences, Ekkalak said the draft law’s wording should be changed to allow the digital version to be legal or a regulation on such matter should be formulated and later sent for the Cabinet’s nod. The Department of Land Transport launched the digital licence app on January 15, but police have refused to accept it under the current law and continue imposing fines if motorists fail to present a physical licence. 

Ekkalak also suggested that, since a driving licence is mostly intended to identify the driver, it can be eliminated if the information is included in the smart national ID cards. 

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