Thailand has begun imposing stricter traffic laws, with amendments to the country’s Land Traffic Act coming into effect as of yesterday. The Act’s 13th amendment brings about stronger penalties for traffic offences in the Kingdom, The Nation reports.

The new penalties under the amendment are a fine of up to 4,000 baht (RM493) for speeding, jumping traffic lights or refusing to stop at zebra crossings and a fine of up to 2,000 baht (RM247) fine for driving against traffic, not wearing a helmet or seat belt.

Those caught and charged with driving without concern for the safety of others face up to one year in prison and/or a fine of between 5,000 (RM616) and 20,000 baht (RM2,465).

As for drink driving, offenders are set to face up to one year in prison and/or a fine of between 5,000 and 20,000 baht for the first instance of driving under the influence of alcohol. Repeat drink driving violations within two years of the first incident will result in up to two years in prison and/or a 50,000 (RM6,162) to 100,000 baht (RM12,325) fine.

Comparatively, those caught committing such an offence in Malaysia face a minimum fine of RM1,000 (all the way up to RM5,000) and/or a jail term below two years, with first-time offenders also having their driving licence disqualified for a minimum of two years.

The new laws in Thailand also aim to curb illegal racing activities. Motorists who gather to race, illegally modify their vehicles or participate in suspicious activities face up to three months in prison and/or a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 baht (RM1,232).

Meanwhile, businesses or companies that illegally modify vehicles also stand to face two-thirds of the penalty, while illegal race organisers and advertisers face up to six months in prison and/or a fine of 10,000 to 20,000 baht.

Elsewhere, the amendement also requires all occupants in vehicles equipped with seat belts to be belted up at all times, and that children under the age of six be placed in child car seats Pick-up truck drivers and front-seat passengers of pick-up trucks must fasten their seat belts, while only a limited number of passengers can be carried in the truck bed.

The report adds that the police and related agencies are still considering the correct number of passengers that can be allowed to sit in the rear of pick-up trucks. Authorities say that the review of the number of passengers that will be permitted in the rear of trucks is expected to be completed by December 4.