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Thais want tougher consequences for repeat drunk drivers – Dusit Poll



Thais have spoken up in a new poll saying they want tougher consequences for those who choose to drink and drive again and again. The Suan Dusit Rajabhat University Poll revealed that an overwhelming majority of Thais are in favor of harsher penalties. The survey was conducted on 2,152 participants of all ages and career levels nationwide.

About 94% of respondents favored tougher laws on drunk drivers who continue to break the law.

The poll also indicated that about 87% of respondents believe such repeat offenders should be put in prison without the possiblity of being let out on probation. Over half of the respondents have seen drunk – driving accidents, putting fire on the well – known claims that Thailand has some of the most dangerous roads in the world.

The Justice Ministry’s Department of Probation records reveal that 17,584 drunk drivers were placed on court – ordered probation in April 2019. But just 1 year later, that number dropped to 550, as the Covid-19 pandemic spurred a nationwide Emergency Decree that included a night – time curfew, bans on alcohol distribution and consumption, and closures of entertainment venues.

Campaigns that aim to educate Thai residents on the dangers of drinking and driving include the push for roadside breathalisers, as experts say using such tests are key to preventing people from driving while intoxicated. But some disagree that campaigns are really doing any good as they say foreign research has revealed that the campaigns are mostly marketing ploys designed by alcoholic beverage producers to increase sales.

According to, Thailand ranks number 4 worldwide for the most dangerous country in which to drive. The rankings were conducted by gathering traffic-related death rates, which show the annual number of road fatalities per capita per year and per vehicle – in kilometres in countries. The rest of the rankings are as follows:

1.  Eritrea – 48.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants
2. Dominican Republic – 41.7
3. Libya – 40.5
4. Thailand – 38.1
5.  Venezuela – 37.2
6. Nigeria – 33.7
7. South Africa – 31.9
8. Iraq – 31.5
9. Guinea-Bissau – 31.2
10. Oman – 30.4

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times


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  1. Steve

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    tougher consequences for those who choose to drink and drive again and again. The consequeces should be same as Europe. First time = consequeces. Not after half a dozen time ffs.

  2. toby andrews

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    Yes they have to increase the penalties from a B1000 to the officers arresting, to public flogging followed by castration.
    Of the police who took the bribes.

  3. Issan John

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    “Tougher”? ?

    They could hardly be weaker. ?

    A few months ago a guy I know from a village a few kms up the hill had been drinking heavily, hopped in his father’s pick up with a friend and drove straight into a tree a few hundred metres away, killing his friend and breaking his own leg.

    Police action? Zero, nil, none. Not because anyone was paid off, police or family, but just no action.

    Police / village “checkpoints” over new year, Songkran, etc, frequently stop drunk drivers who can barely stand up – some can’t. Action? Anything from keeping the bike or car until someone relatively sober (preferably with a licence) can drive it home, to, at worst, keeping it for a few days.

    Nothing else.

    It’s not even down to corruption or stupidity – the guy I mentioned I know was top in his class 25 years ago, a graduate and ex-monk.

    It’s just “the way it is” and will stay, like setting “wildfires”, until the kids are taught otherwise.

  4. Yan

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Many times the controlling “Police Officers” are more drunk than the drunken drivers…And the “Police Officers” are resulting under the “RTP”…How is this possible???

  5. sam

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Certified crash helmets must be compulsory,not plastic helmets that most motorcyclists wear.A mandatory 6 months or more ban for drunk riding or driving,depending on the severity of the accident.The recent increased speed limits will not work smoothly,as most do not abide by the traffic laws and the police has a tendency to be lenient to first time violators.For decades,new rules and regulations had been introduced,but enforcing the laws had not been effectively carried out.That was why high road carnage occurred in the New Year and Songkran periods,not forgetting the daily deadly accidents that happen in the country.

  6. James R

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    In Phuket it costs 20,000 baht to pay off the police if you are over the limit at a police breathalyser check point. They will even give you a lift to an ATM out of sight. I am not joking.

    I am not agreeing with it but just mentioning a fact.

    A few years ago I was at a restaurant with Thai friends. A car backed into the friends car which was parked in a designated space.

    The police were called but nothing done as the driver of the car which ceased was a policeman.

  7. Ben

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 7:39 am

    The absence of any consequences for drunk driving coupled with corruption = a lot of road kill. Unfortunately this collateral damage isn’t going away anytime soon.

  8. Ian Dann

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 7:45 am

    I was planning on going to Eritrea this year for my hols but not now I see those road death stats

  9. Roger Bruce

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Yes John 100%
    it is the way it is in Thailand this will never change
    without new Gov and all-new Police force who care about their people first
    Things will never change….. too many cars too few police who even care
    Good Luck Thailand

  10. Issan John

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 11:50 am

    “Certified crash helmets” … “mandatory ban” … “increase the penalties” … “children on bikes” … “three on a bike” … “driving tests” … etc.

    Unless people can readily afford to obey the law, they won’t / can’t do so and it’s just more “do like us” regardless of whether it’s either possible or would make the roads safer for others.

    If kids are educated that drunk driving, driving the wrong way down a one way street, cutting people up on bikes if you drive a car, not looking before pulling out, etc, etc, is stupid and injures and kills other people then they’ll change how they drive rather than copying their elders.

    If they’re not, then they won’t.

  11. Dreqo

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    If you’re scared, you’ve always got the option of grabbing a one way flight home. Consider that the more likely solution, rather than whinging about Thailand not being the same nanny state from which you came.

  12. James R

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 1:52 am


    So you won’t mind then if a friend or relative in Thailand is killed in a senseless car/bike accident then?

    The driving test is a joke, I saw people being tested at a test centre, you drive around a track at ten miles an hour, the test takes about five minutes, no other cars around, a ten year old could pass the test.

    Nanny state? As an example, deaths per year on roads in the UK 1700, Thailand 24,000

  13. Jeff

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    How about more serious consequences for criminals all around the world? Today’s punishment allows crime to be profitable. Crime does pay.

  14. Dreqo

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 10:17 am

    @James R.
    All of my friends and family members understand the risks of the roads and all abstain from engaging in risky behavior on the roads. A bit of personal responsibility and common sense goes a long way, I realize they’ve removed any and all emphasis of that in the west.
    If the UK is preferable, I’d recommend packing up and heading there? It boggles the mind why anyone would move to Thailand, and then piss/moan about it needing to be more like where they came from. If it were to ever become like the UK, for example, then it would inherit all the pitfalls of the UK. Obviously there’s a reason why so individuals leave the UK for destinations like Thailand, let’s not be daft.

  15. James R

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 2:50 am


    You can not avoid the mistakes others make on the roads in Thailand.

    I agree, many people moan and complain about Thailand and still live there, perhaps they are on a small pension and so feel trapped and miserable as they can’t afford to live in their own country.

    I for instance have all my assets in England and spend six months a year in Thailand and six months in England, that seem to suit me the best as I like both countries but realise I am only allowed to be a visitor in Thailand as is the case for all farangs there.

  16. Ted

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    @James I took the test a few years ago and totally agree, in that the test doesn’t test your driving ability, at all. For someone that has not spend a whole lot behind the wheel, might have had difficulties with the test where reverse driving were called for but how much they cared about the end result…is anyone’s guess.

    The written test, according to me, was even worse [I had to do it as well, since I had lost my driving license from back home] even though I had not studied for it and had know idea what the written rules are, so had to trust the knowledge 20 odd years of international driving had given me. And I missed only 2 questions. I mean, for example, everyone knows [in a test situation] that drunk driving is wrong and that you should not park your car in front of the entrance, to a shopping mall. What is a bit harder to know [what the Thai law book says] what the minimum distance is to park your car, from a fire hydrant or a railway track.

    Safe driving all!

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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