How to lose (and regain) points under Thailand’s new driving scheme

It was a typical day on a Thai roadway when insane carnage erupted in late 2019 as an out-of-control truck barreled into a several schoolgirls riding scooters. Image: Ammnakarach / Twitter
It was a typical day on a Thai roadway when insane carnage erupted in late 2019 as an out-of-control truck barreled into a several schoolgirls riding scooters. Image: Ammnakarach / Twitter

Points. Not just for Thai students and shoppers anymore. Drivers can now covet them as well under a new system that came into effect today to improve traffic safety and confuse people with unnecessary complexity.

Here are some details on how the new points-based system works.

Drivers start with 12 points and can lose one or more for doing stupid things like texting behind the wheel. Committing a violation that results in accidents or fines can cost up to four points.

Here are some of the more interesting offenses and how many points they cost:

One point: using a phone while driving, not wearing helmets or seatbelts, speeding, not waiting for pedestrians to cross, or not making way for ambulances.

Two points: running red lights and driving the wrong way. Three points: Getting into an accident because of exhaustion/impairment.

Four points: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, illegal street racing, and endangering others through recklessness.

Fall to zero points and lose your license for 90 days. Zero-point drivers can regain their honor – and all 12 points – by taking and passing a course at the Land Transport Department. But this is a pretty forgiving system: Drivers who fail the course or just fail to attend will receive eight points. After going a year without further violation, they can get the remaining four points. 

Motorists caught driving without a license face up to three months in prison and a fine of THB10,000. Anyone racking up a third suspension in three years could see their license gone for over 90 days. A fourth revocation and motorists are SOL. Time to buy a bicycle or Rabbit card.

Points can also be earned back in several ways. 

First, don’t screw up for an entire year and they will automatically reset. Secondly, those with six or fewer points can take training courses at the department – twice a year. First course can restore up to 12 points; the second time can only net six points. 

Of course, before you commit these details to memory, remember that it’s all predicated on the police actually enforcing traffic laws.



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