100-200 baht fine for not wearing a seat belt during the initial stage

Drivers of taxis and passenger vans who do not provide safety belts for their passengers will be fined 100-200 baht for each missing safety belt instead of 500 baht during the initial stage of the strict enforcement of safety belt law which began nationwide on Wednesday.

Pol Lt-Gen Wittaya Prayongpant, the assistant police chief, said that police would be given the discretion to judge whether to impose 100 baht or 200 baht fine by taking into consideration other factors such as whether the violations took place in Bangkok or in upcountry provinces.

The lenient enforcement of the safety belt regulation during the initial stage was intended to give a warning to drivers of public transport so they would adjust themselves with the new safety measure, he explained.

He warned that passengers who refused to wear seat belts would be regarded as intentionally defying the law and fined.

Besides safety belts which are also mandatory for private cars, police will also get tough with motorcyclists and pillion riders who do not wear crash helmets.

Although riding on the cab of a pickup truck is banned, Pol Lt-Gen Wittaya said that, during the initial stage, police would give a temporary reprieve, allowing passengers to ride on the cab on case-by-case basis.

If the trip is not long and necessary, he said police would just give a warning to the pickup truck drivers. But if it was found out that the cab was commercially used to carry passengers, police would strictly enforce the law and fine the drivers, he added.

The assistant police chief reiterated that riding on the back of a moving pickup truck during Songkran festival will be prohibited. But if the trucks are stationary at a location chosen for splashing water during Songkran, riding on the back of the pickups is permissible, he said.

Meanwhile, Pol Gen Suveera Songmetta, senior advisor of the Royal Thai Police, defended that the strict enforcement of the safety belt regulation was not intended to pave way for the police to demand fines from the public.

He said most of the fines would go straight to the state coffers while a police is eligible to get a maximum of 300 baht per day.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)