Effective on 1 September 2016, the no-smoking ban in taxis carries a maximum fine of up to Bt2,000 if violated.
The Land Transportation Department says taxis should be no-smoking areas in order to protect passengers, and that taxis must now display a no-smoking sign where it is clearly visible in the vehicle. These no-smoking signs will be available at land transport offices around the country.
Also beginning 1 September, traffic violation tickets in Thailand will be issued with a barcode allowing the violator to pay the fine through Krung Thai Bank (KTB). This can be done at 1,200 counter services nationwide or through the bank’s online service.
Then, beginning 5 September, fine payment will be possible at 9,000 of the bank’s ATMs.
Five other banks are expected to soon also facilitate payment of traffic fines.
National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said of the more than 1.4 million traffic tickets issued in Thailand, only 40 percent of violators paid their fines. Thai law on this will be amended and stricter punishment for offenders is to be considered, including a progressive rate for unpaid fines and suspension or revocation of a violator’s driving license.
Until now traffic violators have had to go to a police station to settle a fine payment, after receiving a ticket sent to their place of residence.
Thailand in recent years has been making efforts to improve travel safety across the board. After it took over administration of the country following the 2014 coup, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) identified the improvement of public transportation systems as a key part of its mission to rid the country of all injustice and bring happiness back to the people. This focuses on various sectors of transportation such as taxis, motorbike taxis and trains, and covers long distance and intra-city networks.
In February 2016 the Tourism Authority of Thailand launched the ‘Friendly Taxis’ campaign at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, with the aim of improving the image of the country’s taxis and to stimulate tourism. It sought to address the illegal practices of taxi drivers at what is Thailand’s main international gateway airport, which had resulted in growing passenger complaints about drivers’ behaviour.
That behaviour included drivers refusing to take passengers, overcharging of passengers and refusal to use the taxi’s metre.
And in February 2016, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport met with government agencies and private sector tourism and car rental services with the aim of regulating the driving by tourists of personal vehicles into Thailand.
Road safety concerns were arising with the growing trend of self drive tourists, caused by different lane systems and driving practices. This was a particular concern with tourists from China, where driving is on the right side of the road as opposed to the left side in Thailand.
The Land Transportation Department was to write new regulations requiring Chinese motorists to inform ahead of time of their plans to travel in Thailand with their own vehicles, and that they must have international insurance coverage.
These efforts to improve safety and service in the kingdom’s transportation sector is welcome news throughout all sectors in society.
International law firm in Thailand BSA Law is one company in particular that always places great importance on travel safety. It encourages people to be pro-active and suggests they carry local emergency and other important numbers on them at all times.
For over 30 years, BSA Law has been providing legal and financial advice and services to the foreign and Thai communities. The Thai law firm’s areas of expertise include tax consulting and accounting, Thai labour law, corporate law, Thai law in general, contracts, property, intellectual property, insurance, investment and how to go about starting a business in Thailand.
It also operates a Thai visa service desk specializing in visa and Thailand work permit areas.