Thailand’s Transport will increase speed limit to 120 kilometres per hour on sections of selected highways. This announcement comes after Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said a surveys show most people support it.
The minister said they conducted opinion surveys which showed 71% agreed with increasing the highway speed limit from 90 to 120 km/h.
Ministry officials are now drafting a ministerial regulation for the new speed limit. It will be submitted to the government’s land traffic management committee this month, Mr Saksayam said.
Furthermore the new regulation sets different speed limits for different traffic lanes on selected highways. On selected section of highways, there will be separate lanes for 80-120 km/h. On fast lanes, officials will enforce both minimum and maximum speed limits.
“The 120 km/h limit will also apply on some sections of some routes. Traffic must be slow at curves and near communities and schools,” Mr Saksayam told the Bangkok Post.
He planned to initially introduce the new speed measure on a 150km section of Highway 32 (Asian Highway). Between Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya province and Nakhon Sawan province. Sections of Mitrapharp Highway in the Northeast and Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok.
The minister said that 29% of the respondents who disagreed with the speed limit increase. Because it could increase road accidents; highway conditions were not good enough for faster speed; motorists lacked discipline and might again violate the new speed limit; and law enforcement could also be lax.
Mr Saksayam also said that highways would be improved with better traffic barriers. They would be installed to suit the faster speed limit.
Lack of enforcement
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization estimated 22,941 people die each year in traffic-related incidents in Thailand. Making its roads the deadliest in Southeast Asia.
One of the biggest obstacles to safer roads is poor enforcement of traffic rules. The Interior Ministry’s Road Safety Thailand unit said the majority of deaths during the New Year period. 41.5% of road death were caused by drunk driving and 28% by speeding.
Highway Police Division chief Pol Maj Gen Ekkarach Limsungkask said the number of traffic offences in 2018 was as high. The most common type of vehicles found violating traffic laws were freight trucks, buses and passenger vans.
Pol Maj Gen Ekkarach said many Thais do not abide by the law because punishment for violating traffic laws are weak. He also said that after the new Road Traffic Act comes into effect, the Highway Police Division would be able to impose a “point deduction” system.