Seven out of the 66 drunk drivers stopped over the New Year Holiday were fitted with the Probation Department’s Electronic Monitoring (EM) devices in front of reporters on January 1, as part of the punishment ordered by the courts over traffic violations.
Presiding over Tuesday’s ceremony at the EM monitoring center in Bangkok, department chief Prasarn Mahaleetrakul revealed that betwee December 27 and 31, the Thai courts had ordered traffic law violators in 6,253 cases to be put on probation. This figure was made up of 5,766 cases involving drunk drivers, 446 cases of driving under the influence of a narcotic substance, 39 cases of reckless driving, and two speeding cases.
Prasarn said the seven – who were fitted with the EM devices during the press conference – were caught driving while drunk, with blood alcohol levels of 190-200 milligrams, far beyond the legal limit of 50 milligrams - on Vibhavadi-Rangsit and Ramkhamhaeng roads.
The seven were among the 66 people sentenced to wear EM devices after being found with blood alcohol levels beyond 150 milligrams while driving, he said. In addition to being fitted with the devices, the 66 would be banned from going out between 10pm and 4am for 15 days, must report to probation officers and undergo four sessions of traffic regulation training. They would also have to pay a fine of Bt15,000 each and do 24 hours of community service, namely helping out at hospitals' emergency departments taking care of road accident victims or looking after bed-ridden patients. They would also have their driver's licences suspended for six months, he added.
The 4,000 EM wrist-cuffing devices – which resemble smart watches – have been rented by the department at a cost of Bt74 million from a private company for 21 months, according to Prasarn.
This year, the department has also introduced a new measure against repeat offenders. Those found to be driving drunk more than twice will be committed to a programme to screen for alcoholism and admitted to hospital for treatment, Prasarn said, adding that the department would assess and evaluate this measure’s effectiveness after one month.