New driving laws drawn up in Thailand

An example of Thai driving skills
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New regulations requiring those applying for a car driving licence to pass a 15-hour course of lessons have been submitted to the Council of State for consideration.

The regulations are expected to be enforced next year, according to the Department of Land Transport (DLT).

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The move came after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday blamed Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith for triggering negative public reaction to the DLT’s plan to implement a new set of ministerial regulations on the issuing of driving licences for personal cars.

A source said Gen Prayut yesterday criticised Mr Arkhom over his mistake at a previous press conference for prompting negative views by members of the public about the new regulations.

Mr Arkhom requested an urgent meeting with Sanit Phromwong, director-general of the DLT, on the same day before assigning Transport Ministry spokesman Chirute Visalachitra to hold a fresh press briefing to improve the media’s understanding about the controversial driver’s licence regulations.

This came after the cabinet on Tuesday approved in principle transport authorities’ plans to require an applicant for a driver’s licence to finish a course of lessons of at least 15 hours and pay up to 6,000 baht for them.

Previously, the required training hours were four before being raised to five on Jan 1.

Mr Chirute later told yesterday’s press conference the DLT still needs time to study in detail to gauge the readiness of privately run driving schools to comply with the new regulations requiring those applying for a personal car driving licence to pass a 15-hour course.

The DLT has to wait for the results of the Council of State’s review of the ministry’s regulations on driver’s licences, he said.

As for the cost of driving lessons that was quoted to be at most 6,000 baht, he said that was an estimated ceiling of the cost of lessons and the DLT will still have to carry out more studies to find out what the proper rate should be before the new regulations are enforced, he said.

People’s ability to pay for such a course will definitely be taken into consideration when the DLT decides on the proper rate for the course of lessons, he said.

Mr Sanit insisted the new regulations requiring those applying for a personal car driving licence to first pass a 15-hour course is pending submission to the Council of State for consideration and are expected to be enforced next year.

Mr Sanit said the cost might be lowered and will be made a single rate nationwide.

As for those who won’t be willing to pay more for a driving courses at privately run schools, they can still find similar courses provided at four DLT schools in Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Phetchabun and Chaiyaphum, he said.

Kamol Buranapong, deputy DLT director-general, said a total of 95 privately-owned driving schools are certified by the DLT as having a good and reliable standard in offering driving courses.

Schools will be required to pass a quality control programme in which they will be required to adopt an electronic classroom system.

-The Bangkok Post

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