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Thailand Suffering from a Drunk Driving Epidemic

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Thailand Suffering from a Drunk Driving Epidemic

Despite a campaign to deter people from drinking and driving, 7,141 people were charged with drunk driving during Songkran 2022 in Thailand.

Among the 7,141 drivers charged with drunk driving and put on probation, 13 were also ordered by the court to wear an electronic monitoring device. Though charged with drunk driving were also forbidden to leave their houses for seven days between 7 pm and 5 am.

The Public Health Ministry will send those who are found to be at risk of alcohol dependency to a medical facility that specializes in alcohol rehabilitation.

A repeat drunk driving offender will be sent for rehab and behavioural adjustment for three days. They will also be required to report to probation officials regularly and to perform community service.

In Thailand, many drunken driving cases result in suspended sentences. Thus, as long as they do not get caught again, they can live normal lives.

Weak Drunk Driving Enforcement

Prommin Kantiya, director of the Accident Prevention Network Thailand, says, “penalties for impaired driving in Thailand are quite moderate and reasonable, but the biggest issue that has caused so many alcohol-related accidents is weak law enforcement.

Everybody knows that driving under the influence of alcohol is neither safe nor legal, but with the very loose law enforcement, they are not afraid of getting caught, and they are not afraid of the laws.”

Although drunk driving is highly irresponsible and shows an utter disregard for others, Thai enforcers often accept guilty pleas for injury caused by negligence or recklessness — which carry lower penalties than impaired driving.

Under Thai law, drunk drivers can be fined up to 200,000 baht and/or incarcerated for up to 10 years and have their licenses suspended or revoked. However, leniency is often granted by the police and courts.

The World Health Organization reports that 26% of road deaths in Thailand involve drunk driving. In Malaysia, the Road Safety Council estimates that 30% of road accidents are caused by impaired driving.

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