Proposal to let nightspots remain open till 4am rejected
The Alcohol Control Committee on Friday rejected a proposal for entertainment venues to stay open until 4am so that alcoholic drinks can be sold for 11 consecutive hours from 5pm.
They cited the findings of a study that extending the open hours of nightspots could increase road accidents by 27% and lead to 10-20 casualties every day due to drunk driving.
They also noted that records showed, despite police checkpoints and strict enforcement of the law, no more than 50% of drunk drivers have been intercepted.
Friday’s meeting of the Alcohol Control Committee was chaired by Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Opas Karnkawinpong and attended by representatives from the relevant agencies.
At present, the closing time for bars and nightspots is 1am.
Sales of alcoholic drinks in Thailand are allowed from 11am to 2pm and from 5pm to midnight, according to a Prime Minister’s Office directive in force since 2015, which is a legacy of a 1972 order by coup-makers.
The panel also endorsed proposed measures to control alcoholic drinks during the upcoming New Year holidays under the “Driving without drinking, drinking without driving” campaign as part of a bid to promote safe driving and curb road accidents, according to Dr Opas.
He said the campaign would be implemented in three stages — before the New Year, during the long holiday, and after the holidays.
In the first stage, the public and shops will be told to respect the alcohol sale time and follow the ban on sale of alcohol to people aged under 20.
During the New Year holidays, police checkpoints will be set up to check the alcohol content in suspicious motorists and the drunk driving law will be strictly enforced.
In the last stage, convicted drunk drivers will be put probation and administered treatment.