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Speed limit on Thailand’s highways increased to 120 kilometres an hour

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Wikimedia

It’s official – the maximum speed limit on 4-lane highways in Thailand has been increased to 120 kilometres per hour, with the new regulation published in the Royal Gazette yesterday. Previously 90 kilometres per hour, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob says the increase in the maximum speed limit is aimed at improving the flow of traffic in line with conditions, while keeping road users safe.

The new limit applies only to highways with 4 lanes or more (at least 2 lanes travelling in each direction, divided by barriers). In the case of roads with traffic signs that indicate minimum and maximum speeds, drivers must adhere to those limits when traffic conditions and other circumstances allow. The increased maximum limit will not apply to any roads that have intersections or U-turns. Nation Thailand has summarised the speed limit regulations based on vehicle type and taking the new speed limit into account:

  • Vehicles with fewer than 7 seats: maximum 120 kilometres per hour
  • Vehicles in the rightmost lane: minimum 100 kilometres per hour
  • Passenger vehicles of over 7 seats but fewer than 15 seats: maximum 100 kilometres per hour
  • Vehicles with more than 15 seats or weighing over 2,200 kilograms: maximum 90 kilometres per hour
  • Tricycles and tow trucks: maximum 65 kilometres per hour
  • Motorcycles: maximum 80 kilometres per hour
  • Motorcycles with engines of 400cc or more: maximum 100 kilometres per hour
  • School buses: maximum 80 kilometres per hour

The increase to 120 kilometres per hour comes a month before the huge holiday getaway that is Songkran, or Thai New Year. This year, the government has announced an extended holiday period from April 10 – April 15, in a bid to boost domestic tourism. To coincide with the holiday, the Department of Land Transport has teamed up with car service centres nationwide to offer free vehicle checks.

Jirut Wisanjit from the DLT is urging drivers to get their cars and motorbikes serviced before setting off in order to ensure their roadworthiness.

“This year’s Songkran holidays start as early as April 10 and last until April 15, and we estimate that a lot of people will travel by road to their hometowns or tourist attractions, which could result in a spike in the number of road accidents. The ‘Free Vehicle Check-up for Road Safety’ activity therefore aims to urge owners to keep their vehicles in the best condition to prevent any accident and promote road safety for all. Under the campaign, vehicle owners can avail of free check-up services at participating service centres nationwide.“

According to the Nation Thailand report, the comprehensive check-up will include brakes, tyres, wiper blades, oil leakage, lighting and signals, and air filters, among others. Jirut says participating auto-service centres will display an advertising banner to advise drivers. The DLT is also advising drivers to adhere to the rules of the road, including the wearing of seat belts, sticking to the speed limit, not drinking and driving and ensuring drivers get the recommended rest time of at least 7 or 8 hours before getting behind the wheel.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar

    Jason V Goodwin

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 9:54 am

    What could go wrong.

  2. Avatar

    Joe Slim

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Like anyone follows the speed limit anyway!

  3. Avatar


    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 11:37 am

    l dont believe the powers that be have thoroughly thought thru this new speed law,it will increase fatalities,which thailand stands as one of the worst countries in the world for deaths on the road

  4. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    As the rules of the road are not properly enforced anyway they might as well make the speed limit a 150 kilometres an hour.
    The free vehicle check up is just a way to sell items to motorists. OK if the items are competitively priced.

  5. Avatar


    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    The new law lists 5 different speed limits. How realistic is that? Not exactly a uniform flow of traffic.

  6. Avatar


    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    So now my chances of been killed on the highways has now improved

  7. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    Been on a big bus once in Thailand, Bangkok too mukdahan, got off at the first stop, hailed a taxi, I went straight back too Bangkok. Two hour , round trip. I like the trains in Thailand. First class mind you.

  8. Avatar


    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Increasing the speed limit.. that’s got to be a first.. most authorities around the world would decrease the speed limit….

  9. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    You could take the view that if people drive faster they will be on the highway for far less time so it might improve highway safety.think i’l go and buy a new suzuki hyabusa based on this theory.

  10. Avatar


    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    jason…did you not mean to say
    “what could go right”.
    (its thailand,worst drivers in the world!!)

  11. Avatar


    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    The higher the speed the more severe the results of accidents – Thailand has already cornered the market in this so it is difficult to see how or why this decision has been made.
    Firstly most Thai highways however wide and straight they look are not suitable for high speed diving.
    The speed diffirentials of various vehicles also increases the chances of collision.
    The design and engineering on most Thai roads actually exacerbates the effects of accidents – eg no proper barriers, tress along the side and even in the middle of dual carriageways, poor surfaces, drainage and poor reflective conditions in bad light and bad weather. Poor lane marking and junction design that is just suicidal. No regular signage systems and many visual obstructions.

    None of this would lead one to conclude that a considerable increase in speed limit is justified.
    There is a problem that if it is too low then people just ignore it and with the standards of enforcement in Thailand this is very common.
    I would have thought 90/100 on highways and keeping 120 only on motorways would have been better.
    BTW Thailand only has around 400 km of REAL motorway….and even those are substandard.

    A serious concern would be that roads that permit motorcycles would now have a 120 limit. tHis means a huge speed differential between private 4 wheelers and 2 or 3 wheelers.
    About 75% of all road deaths ae motorcycle rider/passengers. This can only get worse if this mix occurs.

    BTW it is worth remembering that in private 4-wheeled vehicles the deadh rate is about the same as in the USA

  12. Avatar


    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 12:37 am

    After Songkran,new rules have to be introduced due the high carnage of road accidents.

  13. Avatar

    James R

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 1:41 am

    I didn’t realise the speed limit was 90 km/h, I always drive at 120 km/h like everyone else.

    But no problem because once a year I have my mandatory test on the car before buying the annual road tax.

    It takes at least three minutes to check my car for safety issues, they put the front and back wheels on a roller and press the brake pedal, that is all.

    What else could possible go wrong with a car?

    In the UK a annual test takes about one hour, are we just wasting out time? ?

  14. Avatar

    James R

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 1:51 am

    “A lot is happening…………”

    Well except for mass vaccinations that is, it will take them years to vaccinate people en-masse at this rate.

    So will vaccinated tourists want to go to an unvaccinated countries as the virus might mutate in Thailand and tourists will not then be protected?

    It is anyones guess when Thailand gets back to normal.

  15. Avatar


    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 7:32 am

    This whole speed limit thing is weird. We westerners have been trained to go the slower way. The idea of different, and higher speed limits for different vehicles and different lanes is……..revolutionary! How will it be policed? Nobody will take any notice. It will only add to the existing complications and cause more confusion, if that’s possible.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  16. Avatar

    Kuhn David

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 10:58 am

    But 120 is OK on Sukumvhit Rd if you are the heir to the Red Bull Fortune.

  17. Avatar


    Friday, March 19, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    It will certainly keep the hospital and mortuaries a lot busier!

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