Holders of Lifelong driving licences breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday as the Department of Land Transport (DLT) insisted its plan to have them re-evaluated over traffic safety concerns have yet to be finalised.
Chirute Visalachitra, Director-General of the department, said the idea is still being studied and is part of a push to ensure more stringent standards to improve road safety.
About one million licences valid for life were issued to drivers of cars and motorcycles before 2003. After that, the government decided a driver’s licence should only be valid for a maximum duration of five years.
“It is just an idea, and no guideline has been drawn up for it,” Mr Visalachitra said.
“Even though the idea is intended to make roads safe for all and ensure motorists are fit to drive, the DLT still needs to discuss the issue with various parties.”
His comment came after media reports saying the DLT planned to require lifelong licence holders to take a driver’s test, which sparked a public backlash. Anyone who failed the test would have their licence revoked.
Mr Visalachitra said the DLT has introduced tough road safety measures, including by teaching the elderly and the young about driving skills, road-sharing and traffic safety.
Sumet Ongkittikul, a researcher on transport and logistics policy at the Thailand Development Research Institute, voiced support for the DLT’s plan to draft a proposal to require lifelong driver’s licence holders to take a driver’s test.
Mr Ongkittikul suggested the department target drivers over the age of 70 under the scheme.