First came a cash incentive to report litterbugs, illegal vendors and motorcycling on sidewalks. Then it was a bounty on speeding motorpunks. Now the paranoia can ratchet up another notch with yet another way for people to turn each other in.
The Land Transport Department is introducing a way for the public to hold all drivers, public or commercial, accountable – and make a little extra dough while they’re at it.
Starting Monday, any average joe can rat out motorcycle taxi, bus or taxi drivers for violating traffic rules and regulations and receive half of what they are fined as a reward.
“The program aims to foster traffic discipline as well as to encourage public transportation services to abide by laws and regulations,” Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said yesterday. Public vehicles, in this case, includes taxis, busses and even motor taxis.
“This is not about the government wanting to receive extra money from the fines,” he added.
It does seem a capitulation on cultivating professional law enforcement by passing the burden of reining in scofflaws and low-level lawlessness onto the public. Remember when police officials tried bribing traffic police not to accept bribes?
What are reportable offenses?
Any behavior that violates the 1979 Vehicle act such as driving while inebriated, poor vehicle maintenance, denying service and forcing passengers out before reaching the agreed-upon destination.
Reports can be made by sending information along with evidence – photographic, videographic or otherwise – to the department’s website, Facebook page or direct hotline at 1584. All this is probably best done in Thai.
If the tip leads to an arrest on a relevant traffic offense, the tipster will get 50% of the fine, which usually vary between THB200 (US$7) and THB25,000 (US$826).
Since 2017, a bounty program has offered half of fines assessed of litterbugs, sidewalk jockeys and illegal vendors.
Earlier this year, the Royal Thai Police unveiled yet another bounty program for speeding motorcyclists. People can report speed racers to the Royal Thai Police via hotline 1599. Tipsters whose information leads to a fine for relevant traffic offenses including disturbing the peace, unsafe riding or illegal racing get a THB3,000 (US$100) reward within 10 days.