BANGKOK – Thailand’s Department of Land Transport is set to adopt a more stringent standards for driving tests to improve road safety on Thailand’s dangerous roads.
Among the new procedures expected to be implemented next year is a full electronic testing system, said Kamol Buranaphong, the department’s deputy director-general.
The system could help reduce arguments between applicants and testers, he said.
In addition, a finger-scanning system will be used to authenticate the identity of drivers who sit the exam.
In another move, the department also intends to review an individual’s medical history as part of the application.
Applicants with health problems which could pose an obstacle to their ability to drive safely will be prohibited from obtaining a driving licence, said Mr Kamol.
Health conditions that may disqualify applicants include severe hypertension, epilepsy and diabetes.
Those who have undergone heart or brain surgery who doctors find unfit to drive will also be disqualified from taking the test, said.
The need for more demanding criteria in driving tests comes following news of an accident in Pattaya involving a driver with epilepsy who lost control of his car while suffering from a fit, causing an accident that left two dead and 15 injured.
Driver Akkharadet Udomrat, 44, reportedly had been living with epilepsy for the past five years, some time after he had obtained a driving licence.
As for the issue of elderly drivers who wish to continue driving but may be subject to ailments that make them unsafe on the roads, Mr Kamol said the department is considering adopting the British system where those aged 70 and older are required to undergo a health check every three years before the DLT decides on his or her request to have their driving licence renewed.
The practical part of the driving test also will be beefed up to better assess an applicant’s ability to drive, he said, adding all applicants will also be required to score above 90% in the written exam to qualify for a driving licence.
Sadly Thailand now tops the rankings as the country with the highest death rate in road accidents, according to a World Atlas survey, many expats living in Thailand would like to see road tests adopted from Western standards for Thai and alike driving Thailand.
Despite government attempts to reduce the number of casualties, a seminar on road safety was told on Monday that Thailand now tops the road death list on the World Atlas website.
Thailand’s estimated road traffic death rate (per 100,000 population) stands at 36.2 this year.
To put that in perspective, that’s about 39 people per day who die on our country’s treacherous roads.
With 32,476,977 vehicles registered in Thailand, riders of motorcycles and three-wheelers are by far the largest group to be killed in road accidents (73%) followed by passengers of 4-wheeled cars (7%) and drivers of 4-wheeled cars (6%).
The World Health Organization, meanwhile, ranks Thailand as the second deadliest country, behind Libya from a survey of 180 countries.