Thailand has one of the worst road fatality rates in the world with at least 30 dead each day. The number often doubles during the long holidays when people are out celebrating. Thailand already has strict licensing laws that limit the times you can buy alcohol from convenience stores. The laws for closing times at pubs and bars are not as strict as many seem to get away with being open all night. On the surface it seems silly to bring in new laws when old ones are not being enforced. But, if anything can be done to stop drink driving then I am all for it.
The latest law, which came into play on 8th August, prohibits the drinking of alcohol in any kind of vehicle. This doesn’t matter if its your private car or a public bus or whether you are the driver or the passenger. No-one is allowed to drink alcohol in a vehicle, even if its parked by the side of the road. The exception is if its in front of your house. If caught you could face up to 6 months in prison and/or a 60,000 Baht fine. At the weekend we bought some beer at the end of a really exhausting cycle ride then suddenly remembered it would be illegal for us to open the cans in the back of the van.
It may seem strange that passengers are also included in this ban. But, if you think about it, it does make sense. I have seen with my own eyes during the Songkran festivities people in the back of pick-up trucks drinking beer and then passing the bottle to the driver. If other people are drinking then I guess the temptation is too much for the driver. Another ban we have at the moment is the sale of alcohol at convenience stores at gas stations. This one seems to be working. But, whether they can enforce the ban on drinking in vehicles is another matter. Songkran will be the biggest test.