The Penalties and Fines for Traffic Offenses in Thailand 2023

Last updated: 2023-03-28

Many people vacationing in Thailand are not aware of the traffic regulations. The most popular offenses among tourists include riding a motorcycle or scooter without a helmet and lacking the proper driver’s license. Many people do not realize that you must have an international driver’s license (IDP) to drive a scooter or motorcycle in Thailand or a Thai driver’s license. Additionally, scooter rental agencies can be fined for renting scooters to people without a valid driver’s license. Random police controls in Phuket are frequent, especially around the Patong, Karon, and Kata checkpoints.

The Checkpoints in Phuket: How to Behave

Checkpoints are regular police checks that are deployed at fixed locations. Checkpoints usually have several police officers. Keep calm during the controls and do not make any fuss. Thai police officers are usually friendly and forgiving, but they do not tolerate aggressive behavior.

Checkpoints also happen at night. The police check the sobriety of drivers and can search you for drugs. Remember that the e-cigarettes popular in the West are illegal here and treated like a drug.

Update 5th Sept 2022

Rules are recently changed. We will shortly update the “price list” for the offenses, however we are cite some from the new changes:

A fine of up to 4,000 baht for speeding, running red lights or failing to stop at zebra crossings.

A fine of up to 2,000 baht for driving against traffic or not wearing a helmet or seat belt.

Up to one year in prison and/or a fine of 5,000 to 20,000 baht for driving without regard for the safety of others.

Up to one year in prison and/or a fine ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 baht for the first offense of drunk driving. Repeat drunk driving violations within two years of the first incident will result in up to two years in prison and/or a 50,000-100,000 baht fine.

Motorists who gather to race, illegally modify their vehicles or participate in suspicious activities will face up to three months in prison and/or a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 baht. Shops that illegally modify vehicles also face a two-thirds penalty. Race organizers and advertisers face up to six months in prison and/or a fine of 10,000 to 20,000 baht.

The amendment also requires all drivers and passengers in vehicles with safety belts installed, such as personal cars or vans, to fasten their safety belts. Pick-up truck drivers and front-seat passengers must wear their safety belts, while the truck bed can only carry a limited number of passengers. Safety belt violations may result in a fine of up to 2,000 baht.

Thailand Traffic fines in 2022 (updated)

If you are caught driving without an IDP, a ticket will be issued on the spot, and it must be paid in cash at the nearest police station. After paying the fine, you will have a 24-hour grace period, which means that you will not get a second ticket for driving without an IDP within the next 24 hours. Of course, this grace period does not apply to those caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For this offense, the penalty is 20,000 baht and the threat of imprisonment.

Here is the updated tariff for some offenses:

Traffic violations Fine
Driving without a license 200฿(official) / 500฿-1,000฿(tourist)
Illegally stopping in restricted areas 300฿
Using an unroadworthy vehicle 400฿
Failing to stop for an emergency vehicle 400฿
Parking on the bridge 400฿
Using a cell phone without auxiliary equipment 500฿
Driving without license plates 500฿
Failing to comply with traffic signs on roadsides 500฿
Driving on roadside pavements 500฿
Parking or leaving stalled vehicles to obstruct traffic 500฿
Driving wrong-way 500฿
Overtaking on the left (a practice known as undertaking) 500฿
Changing lane over solid white line 500฿
Contravening emissions regulations 1,000฿
Negligent or "scary" driving up to 2,000฿
Reckless driving up to 2,000฿
Driving against traffic 2,000฿
Driving without safety belts 2,000฿
Driving without helmet (each person) 2,000฿
Speeding up to 4,000฿
Disobeying traffic lights 4,000฿
Run on the red light 4,000฿
Fail to stop at Zebra crossing 4,000฿
Gather to race, illegally modify their vehicles or participate in suspicious activities 5,000฿-10,000฿ +(up to three months in prison)
No regard for others' safety 5,000฿-20,000฿ + (up to one year in prison - usually not for tourist)
The first drunk driving offense 5,000฿-20,000฿ + (up to one year in prison - usually not for tourist)
Repeat drunk driving violations within two years of the first incident 50,000฿-100,000฿ + (up to two years in prison)

Speak Thai or Pretend You Cannot?

If you know even a few words in Thai, it can slightly affect the police officer’s decision and ease the punishment. Pretending that you do not understand a word in Thai or English and that you do not know why you’re getting a ticket does not work.

Final Thoughts

Driving a scooter is a very convenient and fast means of transport in Thailand. It is a pleasure and gives you the freedom to travel around the island without restrictions. However, to avoid unnecessary costs and stress during a run-in with the police, it is worth learning about local laws and regulations.

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