Police have proposed that it should be legal for passengers to ride in two-door pickup trucks' extended cab spaces and in the cargo bed of pickup trucks under certain conditions.
A source at the Royal Thai Police said on Tuesday that Assistant Police Commissioner General, Pol Lt-General Wittaya Prayongpan, sent a letter to the Land Transport Department (LTD) director-general last Friday regarding the proposal under the Automobile Act 1979.
The letter said that police had implemented the traffic regulation that required all passenger seats to have seat belts. They have received complaints from many private pickup truck drivers saying they needed to carry passengers in the extended cab and open cargo bed.
Police have asked the LTD to consider criteria that allows people who need to use pickup trucks to carry more passengers than can be accommodated in seats with seat belts in certain circumstances. This would prevent drivers from having to register vehicles as “personal pickup trucks for more than seven passengers”.
Police suggested that the LTD follow three guidelines:
1. The extended cab space behind the front seats of certain two-door pickup truck models could have seat belts installed so they could carry passengers.
2. Pickup trucks with an open cargo bed, if required to carry passengers, could be allowed for up to six persons with hand rails and seat belts if possible.
3. Trucks allowed to carry passengers in the cargo bed must drive at less than 80 kilometres per hour in municipal areas.
Tuesday was also the day when a new requirement came into effect that required the drivers of passenger vans on fixed routes to remove excess seats to meet the 13-seat limit. Failure to comply could result in a Bt5,000 fine and a licence suspension of up to six months, said Deputy Transport Minister Pichit Akkharathit. The new law covered 15,808 passenger vans registered nationwide.