Phuket police to use hospital blood tests to confirm drivers’ alcohol levels

Phuket police are using hospital blood tests to confirm drivers’ alcohol levels after the national police chief suspended checkpoints due to “transparency issues”. Arayapan Pukbuakhao, the island’s police deputy commander, is warning that police will continue to arrest and charge drink drivers despite the absence of roadside tests.

All roadside blood alcohol checkpoints were cancelled last weekend through to October 6, but Arayapan says they are resuming their stance on drinking and driving.

“Police across Phuket will check for alcohol, but no longer at checkpoints as standard procedure. We will conduct anti-drunk driving campaigns when [the provincial police commander] issues a special order, and any officer who believes that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol will have the driver tested.”

“Right now we still have not finalised what the standard procedures will be, but if any officer has reason to believe a driver has been drinking, they will be tested and charged.”

New traffic penalties published in the Government Gazette will take effect on November 1. Those penalties have been raised for minor traffic incidents, but drunk driving penalties are the same as back in 2015. Such blood-alcohol concentration limits remain at zero for professional and commercial drivers as well as those drivers under 24 years old. The BAC limits for all other drivers is .05%.

Speaking to The Phuket News, Wiwat Seetamanotch, the VP of the Phuket office of the Road Safety Policy Foundation says alcohol is a factor in 20 to 40% of all Phuket road accidents with this year alone seeing 54 deaths and 5,461 injuries in accidents on the island according to the Thai Road Safety Committee.

However, enforcement of such laws has historically been troubling as many point courts and police being lenient towards drunk-drivers. Wiwat says he welcomes the renewed efforts of policing drunk drivers on the island.

“The number of drunk drivers in accidents in Phuket this year is nearly the same as last year.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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