A surge in drink driving incidents in Bangkok in recent months has sparked outrage in the local public, with activists urging authorities to get tougher. Fortunately, new laws that came into effect on December 31 last year has seen police cracking down on suspected drink drivers with the help of breathalysers.
It is reported that 300 drink driving related traffic deaths occur each New Year and Songkran (traditional Thai New Year’s Day from 13 to 15 April).
Even after numerous public campaigns by the Thai Ministry of Public Health to reduce the number of road fatalities, Thailand is still in the top 3 countries in the world with the highest number of road accidents.
In fact, the Bangkok Post reports that the result was that Thailand has jumped from being ranked the third in the world for the highest number of road accidents — according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) a few years ago — to second place, with 44 deaths per 100,000 people,according to a study by the University of Michigan released last year. Compare this to the world’s average of 18 deaths per 100,000. The numbers are shocking!
However, it’s not fair to blame the Thai Ministry of Public Health for the rising number of road fatalities. Driving habits, once formed, are difficult to change, especially when there has always been a lack of law enforcement on the road.
Far greater law enforcement is needed than a new road safety PSA from the Health Department.
Fortunately, new laws that came into effect on December 31 last year has seen police testing suspected drink drivers with alcohol breathalysers.
Under Section 43 (2) of the new Traffic Act, a driver who refuses to co-operate with police officers will be assumed drunk and can be arrested if they refuse a breathalyser test.
The penalty for refusing to take the test is a jail term of up to one year and a fine from 10,000 baht to 20,000 baht, or both.
Thailand’s latest road safety laws follow that of its neighbour, Vietnam. Since November 2013, Vietnam police have been conducting random breath testing to curb drink driving in the country.
Last year, it was reported that breath testing procedures conducted in Quang Ninh (a Vietnamese province) have shown that the method above is highly effective and efficient. After 20 days of conducting RBTs during peak hours, the Quang Ninh Police have stopped 3,500 cars, with 170 cases of drink drivers caught.
To conduct breath testing, Quang Ninh police use the AlcoSense Prodigy II, one of our top-selling industrial breathalysers with advanced electrochemical fuel cell sensor and dual mode fast and normal testing.