Thai Transport Minister backs down on Mandatory GPS tracking in Private Vehicles

In a recent article on November 04, 2019 by Thai PBS Worldthe Thai Minister of Transport, Mr. Saksayam Chidchob has officially walked back the Government’s earlier position (for the time being at least) of making the fitting of GPS tracking devices in all motor vehicles mandatory pending further studies at a recent Monday press conference.

The Transport Minister went on to briefly explain the supposed virtues of GPS tracking devices, such as their widespread usage in either deterring or preventing car-theft, and usage as a collision avoidance, and traffic congestion easing tool.

The Minister furthermore went onto mention that the Land Transport Department is currently looking into the viability of finding in-expensive GPS devices which can be easily retrofitted into older vehicles, whereas this becomes a non-issue in new vehicles as most already come with modern GPS systems fitted as standard.

The further studies seem to be centered around two types of GPS tracking systems, the first being without real-time connectivity which would eliminate the need for a monthly air-time fee which would be linked to the Transport Department’s vehicles database, and the second option is with real-time connectivity, which would inevitably require some sort of RFID chip and a monthly air-time fee.

We can expect further announcements by the Government as to whether or not they still wish to move forward with their proposal to make GPS tracking mandatory in private vehicles pending any satisfactory outcome of these further studies.

Other countries such as South Africa and Dubai already use RFID chips in their GPS devices which are used for everything from paying for petrol/diesel, parking and motorway tolls.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that the Government needs to overcome, apart from the increased costs of retrofitting older vehicles and real-time connectivity (air-time) monthly costs is it’s ability to convince the general public that their privacy won’t be compromised.