Officials expect more to fail The Department of Land Transport will introduce a tougher driving licence examination from today in a bid to boost road safety.
Department chief Asdsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket said 80% of road accidents nationwide were caused by a lack of discipline and alertness on the part of drivers, prompting the DLT to review its licence requirements.
In recent months, applicants have rushed to transport offices across the country in a bid to secure their driving permit before the new rules are enforced, he said.
Under the new requirements, Mr Asdsathai said the department has increased the duration of a compulsory traffic rule training session from two hours to four hours to cover more content. The DLT has future plans to again increase the training session to 12 hours, he said.
The department has also increased the number of questions in the multiple-choice knowledge test from 30 to 50, and will now enforce a 90% pass mark, up from the previous 75%.
The new rules will be applied to all applicants for private vehicle licences beginning today.
Mr Asdsathai said each test comprises questions randomly selected from a pool of 1,000. The questions are available on the department’s website, www.dlt.go.th, to allow applicants to prepare for the exam.
The DLT decided to increase the number of questions in a bid to encourage applicants to spend more time studying traffic rules, Mr Asdsathai said.
“It is not difficult to achieve a score of 90%,” he said. “What is more difficult is the driving test, as a closed-circuit television camera system will now be used to monitor the driving ability of applicants. This is expected to result in the number of people passing the driving test dropping from 60-70% to only 40-50%.”
Regulations governing driving licence applications and renewals are also changed regularly, he said.
Under current rules, those seeking licence renewals must present a medical certificate and undergo a training session on driving and traffic rules.
Mr Asdsathai believed the tougher examination would encourage better driving habits among road users.
Sumet Ongkittikul from the Thailand Development Research Institute welcomed the move, saying the tougher examination would enable applicants to gain more knowledge about road traffic rules, helping to dispel accusations that driving licences in Thailand can be obtained too easily.
However, he said a better way to reduce road accidents was to enforce traffic laws more strictly.
To apply for a driving licence, applicants must be at least 18 years old.
Before 2003, lifelong licences were issued for cars and motorcycles.
First published: Bangkok Post, June 01, 2014