Home Thailand

Thailand Looks to Make Old Drivers Prove They Can Still Motor

Geezers on wheels will have to requalify to keep their lifetime driver’s licenses as Thailand takes a stab at reining in its world-worst highway-accident carnage.

While Thailand stopped issuing lifelong road passes in 2003, many drivers still hold them and wreaking havoc on the roads. After a recent smashup in Chonburi involving a 96-year-old motorist, the Department of Land Transport proposed that Thailand do as Japan and other countries have done and start revoking lifetime licenses from senior citizens.

Drivers over 70 would have their vision tested and must show they don’t have any other impairments that would impair their abilities. They also would have requalify behind the wheel. Nodding off, resting your head on the side window while motoring or knocking over too many cones would put an end to your driving days.

The Thailand Development Research Institute endorsed the initiative with Sumet Ongkittikul, the TDRI’s research director on transportation and logistics policies, said the yanking lifetime driver’s licenses has been debated by academics for ages.

The issuance of lifetime driver’s licenses has been stopped worldwide and many countries are now revoking them, he said.

Elderly people were losing their driving skills and also had chronic diseases that might obstruct driving and caused accidents, Sumet said.

He suggested the new policy be first applied to people aged 70 and older and be evaluated before being expanded to those who are 65 years old and over. He said that the drivers who were younger than 60 years old should be spared to save costs.

The plan likely will be finalized next week after a meeting at the DLT.