A new regulation went into effect this week requiring the hands-free use of mobile phones while driving. The law is now being enforced in all of Thailand according to a deputy government spokesperson. They issued a warning yesterday to make drivers aware that holding a phone while driving is now illegal.
Section 43(9) of the Land Traffic Act of 1979 has a new clause that went into effect on October 7. It says drivers cannot use any communication device like a radio or telephone while driving unless it is equipped to be used hands-free. The law is intended to reduce road deaths and injuries caused by careless drivers using their phones while driving.
Drivers can use their mobile devices on speakerphone or if it is connected to a wireless device that allows them to talk without taking their hands off the wheel. That said, if dialling and other functions still require a motorist to physically touch the device, the law states that they must pull over before operating the phone.
The law also includes one more caveat that states that any technology to allow phones to be hands-free must not block the driver’s vision. So equipment must be mounted on the front of the car out of the way, according to the Bangkok Post.
The newly enacted law will be enforced for five years and then reviewed, taking public opinion into account. For now, though, those caught using their mobile phones without a hands-free set-up are subject to a fine from 400 to 1,000 baht.