Crackdown prompts driving license surge

PHUKET TOWN: A crackdown by Phuket police has sparked a rush by car drivers and motorcyclists to apply for licenses, with the number of applicants jumping from an average of 65 a day to around 120. Another factor in the increase has been a change in national policy that allows people registered as living in other provinces to take a test in Phuket. Pol Lt Col Teeraphol Thipjaroen, Deputy Superintendent of Phuket Police Station, said that police were now strictly enforcing traffic rules and regulations, including checking that everyone pulled over has a driver’s license. The fine for not having a licence is 500 baht. Licenses, which must be renewed annually, cost 100 baht for a car driver and 55 baht for a motorcyclist. Prasit Amarapal, Chief of the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO), said that people in places such as hotels and schools had been asking for instruction in what is required for employees to receive licenses. “Recently the Boat Lagoon asked for licenses for about 100 people so we told them all to come to the office. They received two hours of training, and were then tested,” he said. Chariyut Dumchaom, Head of the PLTO’s Driving License Section, said that the testing room is now always crowded and, on some days, more than 120 people apply. About 20% to 30% are there for car driving licenses while the rest are seeking motorcycle licenses. A written test is followed by a driving test. Those who pass both are usually able to collect their licenses the same day or the next day. K. Prasit said that, in the space of a year, the number of licensed drivers on Phuket’s roads had increased from about 70% of all drivers to about 80%.

Phuket News
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