New rule says car passengers must use seat belts, only 6 riders in back of pickup trucks

Photo: Ian Fuller/Flickr
Photo: Ian Fuller/Flickr

Despite pickup trucks routinely seen carrying more than 20 workers to and from job sites around Bangkok each day, the government has introduced a new law stating that no more than six people can ride in the back of a pickup truck at any one time.

The new ruling is related to another new ruling that took effect on April 5 stating that seat belts must be worn by riders inside vehicles. Those vehicles will include: private cars, taxis, vans (which can now only take 13 passengers) and buses.

Obviously, the reasons for the new laws are safety-related.

When the seat belt law was announced last week, it was accompanied by a rule that no passengers would be able to ride in the back of pickup trucks. After massive negative public commenting, the government relented and changed the ruling to six passengers in the back of trucks. They have said that it is only an easing of the original regulation to allow people time to adjust to the new law before they instate their ruling of no passengers in the back.

Some have said that the new law is yet another that will make life harder for the poor and lower-middle class in Thailand, who often travel in the back of pickup trucks to work and when they visit their hometowns.

It’s unclear how they will enforce seat belt laws in Bangkok for vehicles such as tuk tuks, public buses and songtaews, which often ferry as many standing riders as seated ones and do not have seat belts installed at all.

Government spokesman Lt. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that, after an initial period when police would likely just issue warnings to those not following the law, the new regulations will be strictly enforced, reported Thai PBS.

The government has said that they will not be enforcing the law over the Songkran holiday.

In the future, those found violating the laws can be fined THB500 – THB50,000. The lowest fine will be for private vehicles while the highest fines will be for drivers of public vehicles not enforcing the law.


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