Vehicle registration plates of Thailand
Thailand's vehicle registration plates are issued by the Department of Land Transport (DLT) of the Ministry of Transport. They must be displayed on all motorized road vehicles (with the exception of royal-, police- and military-owned vehicles), as required by the Motor Vehicle Act, B.E. 2522 (1979 CE) and the Land Transport Act, B.E. 2522. The plates vary in design, colors and dimensions according to the type of vehicle, but usually display a registration number (usually a two-character letter or numerical prefix and a four-digit number) and the vehicle's province of registration. Specifications are given in Ministry of Transport regulations. Current style started in 1975 for most vehicle types, but with small changes in 1997, and 1997 for motorcycles.
All license plates are rectangular, with variations in size and color according to the class of the vehicle. Most plates prominently display the vehicle registration ID, which usually consists of Thai letters and a number string. The province of registration is shown below the ID.[a] The letters are embossed, and all plates must also be embossed with a seal bearing the letters "ขส". The current designs are regulated by the notification of the Department of Land Transport dated B.E. 2554 (2011 CE) for buses and trucks, and by the ministerial regulation issued B.E. 2554 for other motor vehicles.
Plates for cars, vans, pick-up trucks, motorized tricycles, trailers, road rollers, tractors and agricultural vehicles follow the same design. They are 15 by 34 centimetres (5.9 by 13.4 in) in size, with a colored and embossed outline. The registration ID consists of two series letters followed by a serial number string of up to four digits, from 1 to 9999, without leading zeros, e.g. "กข 1" or "กข 1234". A leading digit may be added in front of the two letters if the letter pool has been exhausted, as is the case in Bangkok since 2012, giving the format "1กข 1234". Due to the case, the new plates, since 2012, have reduced text size, to keep the plate size. The province of registration is displayed in Thai underneath the registration ID. The colors of the text and background depend on the type of vehicle, and are given in following table:
Vanity (auction) plates
Since 2003, certain serial numbers in each series are made available for auction. These include single-digit numbers (1); twin (11), triplet (111) and quadruplet (1111) numbers, round thousands (1000); straight three-digit (123) and four-digit (1234) numbers; and pairs of two like numbers (1122, 1212, 1221). Such IDs are accompanied by vanity plates with a special background image customized for each province. The auction plates, also called Super Number (Thai: ทะเบียนรถเลขสวย, rtgs: thabian rot lek suai, lit. meaning "beautiful number car registration plate") by the Department of Land Transport (DLT), are only in private passenger car type until 2014, when private pick-up and private van auction plates are made available.
The highest price paid at auction for a vanity plate was set in 2014 at 25,000,000 baht (about US$771,000) for a Bangkok plate "1กก 1111 กรุงเทพมหานคร". Because of its very high price, DLT allowed the buyer to design the background image.
Series letters are specific to vehicle classes. Personal cars have series beginning with (in order of adoption) ก, ข, ง, จ, ฉ, ธ, ฐ, พ, ภ, ว, ษ, ศ, ส, ช, ฌ, ฎ, ญ and ฆ; pick-up truck licenses begin with (in alphabetical order) ฒ, ณ, ต, ถ, บ, ป, ผ, ย, ร and ล; vans' begin with น, ฬ, อ and ฮ. Car taxis have IDs beginning with ท and ม. Mini truck taxi IDs begin with ฟ. Some series beginning with ส are used for tuk-tuk taxis, and some beginning with ฌ, ณ, ฎ are used by service vehicles. Trailers, road rollers, tractors and agricultural vehicles, including rot i-taen (Thai farm trucks), have ซ as their first series letter, or ฆ for some provinces.
Each new letter pair is announced by the DLT. Each provincial registrar accordingly registers new vehicles under its latest available letter pair until all 9,999 numbers have been exhausted, then moves onto the next series letter. Letters whose appearance may be confused are skipped, and so are letter pairs which form words with bad meanings. For example, the combinations "ชน" and "ตด" are not used, as they form words meaning "crash" and "fart".
Although license plates have likely been used since the promulgation of the Motor Vehicle Act, Rattanakosin Era 128 (1910 CE), the earliest legislation of which details are available is from 1967. The size of license plates was specified at 11 by 39 centimeters, with white text on a black background. A two-letter abbreviation of the province name, arranged vertically, was displayed to the left, and the registration ID, consisting of either a five-digit serial number or a single series letter and a four-digit serial number, was displayed to the right, e.g., "(ก.ท.) 01234" or "(ก.ท.) ก-0123". This was changed in 1975 to black-on-white plates with a size of 15 by 30 centimeters. The series identifier for Bangkok was also changed to consist of one-digit number plus one letter, e.g., "1ก-0123". The province name was given in full under the ID, as in the current system. The serial number was displayed with leading zeros, which were dropped, along with the dash, when the current format was adopted in 1997.
Plates for motorcycles are 17.2 by 22 centimeters, with an outline. Information is displayed in three horizontal rows. The series letters and leading number is displayed on the top row, and a serial number of up to four digits on the bottom row, e.g. "1กข 1234". The province of registration is shown on the middle row.[b] The lettering is done in black, with a white background for private motorcycles and a yellow background for hired motorcycles.
Diplomatic vehicle plates
License plates issued to members of diplomatic missions, international organizations or United Nations specialized agencies based in Thailand are 11 by 38.7 centimeters in size, with the format "ท 01 - 1234". On the top left is a letter denoting the status of the registrant ("ท" for diplomatic agents, "พ" for members of special embassy agencies, "ก" for consular agents, and "อ" for international organizations or United Nations agencies). On the bottom left is a number code denoting the country or organization. On the right is a serial number string of up to four digits, with a separating horizontal line in the middle. Motorcycle plates have a similar appearance but with a size of 9 by 27 centimetres (3.5 by 10.6 in). Plates issued to diplomatic agents are colored black on white, those issued to honorary consuls are black on gray, and others are white on light blue.
Bus and truck plates
License plates for buses and trucks are separately regulated, and have a size of 22 by 44 centimetres (8.7 by 17.3 in). They show the registration number which consists of two series digits and four serial digits (with leading zeros), separated by a horizontal line. The word THAILAND is displayed in capital letters above the number. The province of registration is displayed below the number, with the "ขส" seal to the left. A numerical provincial code is shown in the top right. The text is colored black, with a yellow background for hired vehicles and a white background for private vehicles.
All DLT-registered vehicles are required to mount a registration plate in an easily visible position at the front and at the rear of the vehicle, except for motorcycles, for which only rear-mounting is required. Vehicles must also display an annual tax payment decal on the windshield or another visible location, depending on the type of vehicle.
Similar to those issued in the United Kingdom, motor dealers' (trade) plates, or temporary license plates, are typically carried by unregistered vehicles or vehicles without proper documents (i.e., a road tax and insurance). While the plate is most commonly utilised by authorised vehicle dealers and local vehicle companies with approvals and permits from the DLT, they are commonly issued to new vehicles for use during the eight weeks or so that it takes for new plates to be issued.
Trade plates carry a significant number of restrictions. Applications for trade plates require deposits and monthly renewals.
Trade plates are also used by foreign vehicles without proper permits or document from their countries of origin to gain permission of entry into Thailand, when clearance is authorised by customs. In special cases, such as the transfer of show cars, trade plates may also be borrowed from the DLT.
Trade plates are made from pressed alloy, with a red background and black digits. Trade plates are one or two consonants and four digits long.
As of 2008, international plates for private cars are available from the DLT upon request, for a fee. The prefix characters are translated via code-matching into two alphanumeric Roman characters. The country name THAILAND is displayed in capital letters below the registration number, and the numerical provincial code is shown in the bottom right. The plates are black on white. They are required for transport into Burma, Cambodia, southern China, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. However, they are not legal inside Thailand, and must be removed upon re-entering the country.
The current international vehicle registration code for Thailand, adopted 1954, is "T".
The DLT's authority does not cover vehicles used by the king, the Royal Thai Police, the Bureau of the Royal Household, or the Royal Thai Armed Forces. These vehicles are marked by plates governed by their respective organizations.
Vehicles owned by the Bureau of Royal Household have registration plates bearing the letters ร.ย.ล. (short for ราชยานยนต์หลวง, "royal motor vehicle") and a registration number, usually in white on a black background. Vehicles owned by the king usually bear standard registration plates but with the reserved series prefixes of "1ด" or "ดส".
Vehicles owned by the Royal Thai Police usually have registration plates bearing the police emblem followed by the registration number. The colors are white on a maroon background.
Military vehicles have registration plates bearing their registration number preceded by the emblem of their respective military branch. Combat vehicles have red-on-white plates, while non-combat vehicles' plates are white-on-black.
- An exception is Betong, Yala, which is the only district with its own registrar and may appear on license plates.
- The use of this system is expected to begin in 2013. Current motorcycle IDs follow the form "กขค 123".
- กฎกระทรวง กำหนดขนาด ลักษณะ และสีของแผ่นป้ายทะเบียนรถ และการแสดงแผ่นป้ายทะเบียนรถและเครื่องหมายแสดงการเสียภาษีประจำปี พ.ศ. 2554 [Ministerial regulation specifying the dimensions, appearances and colors of vehicle registration plates and the display of vehicle registration plates and annual tax payment marks, B.E. 2554] (PDF). Royal Thai Government Gazette (in Thai). 128 (45 A): 6–12. 8 June 2011.
- ประกาศกรมการขนส่งทางบก เรื่อง กำหนดลักษณะ ขนาด สีของแผ่นป้ายเลขทะเบียนรถ และการแสดงแผ่นป้ายและเครื่องหมายแสดงการเสียภาษี พ.ศ. 2554 [Notification of the Department of Land Transport on specification of dimensions, appearances and colors of vehicle registration plates and the display of vehicle registration plates and annual tax payment marks, B.E. 2554] (PDF). Royal Thai Government Gazette (in Thai). 128 (44 D special): 52–53. 19 January 2011.
- กฎกระทรวง กำหนดหมายเลขทะเบียนซึ่งเป็นที่ต้องการหรือเป็นที่นิยม เพื่อนำออกเปิดประมูลเป็นการทั่วไป พ.ศ. 2546 [Ministerial regulation specifying registration numbers of high demand or popularity for general auction, B.E. 2546] (PDF). Royal Thai Government Gazette (in Thai). 120 (75A): 1–4. 8 August 2003.
- เลขมงคลทำเงินพันล้าน [Auspicious numbers makes billions] (in Thai). Post Today. 2014-10-05. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
- ข่าวประชาสัมพันธ์ (in Thai). the Department of Land Transport (DLT) of the Ministry of Transport (Thailand). Retrieved 2016-01-14.
- เปิดประมูลทะเบียนรถตู้-รถกระบะ [Pick-up and van plates auction opened] (in Thai). Daily News (Thailand). 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
- ขนส่งฯ เปิดประมูลทะเบียนรถตู้-กระบะ เริ่ม 13 ส.ค. [DLT open pick-up and van plates auction in August 13] (in Thai). Thai Rath. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
- Amornrat Mahitthirook (2014-09-30). "Student pays B25m for 'lucky' licence plate". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
- "Real estate heir wins car licence plate bid at 25 million baht". Thai PBS. 2014-09-30. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
- รถ5แสนติดทะเบียน25ล้าน หนุ่มเจ้าของโอ่ไม่แพง [A 500,000 baht car use 25 million baht plate, the owner says it is not expensive]. Thai Rath (in Thai). 2014-10-01. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
- เก่งกรีฑาพล, ประพิม (17 September 2012). ป้ายทะเบียนรถใหม่ "1กก"ใช้ได้อีก157ปี [New registration plate "1กก" to last 157 years]. Daily News (in Thai).
- ขนส่งเดินหน้าเลิกป้ายแดงปี 60 ขจัดรถเลี่ยงจดทะเบียนทำรัฐขาดรายได้ [DLT to stop "red plate" in 2560 (2017).] (in Thai). Manager Online. 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
- ขนส่งลุยเลิก 'ป้ายแดง' ปี60 ชี้ขับโชว์เท่-ไม่จ่ายภาษี (in Thai). Thai Rath Online. 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
- 'ขนส่ง'ลุยยกเลิก'ป้ายแดง' ซื้อรถใหม่จดทะเบียนเลย! [DLT to stop "red plate", (owner must) register the car when buy it (to use the car legally)] (in Thai). Daily News (Thailand). 2015-07-08. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
- ธารทิพย์ (18 March 2011). กรมการขนส่งทางบก เตือน ! เจ้าของรถที่ใช้แผ่นป้ายทะเบียนรถภาษาอังกฤษในประเทศไทยหรือติดแผ่นป้ายที่สั่งทำเอง มีความผิด โทษปรับไม่เกิน 2,000 บาท พร้อมปรับปรุงระเบียบการออกเอกสารและครื่องหมายกำกับรถในการนำรถไปใช้ระหว่างประเทศ ให้เหมาะสมกับการใช้งานยิ่งขึ้น (PDF) (Press release) (in Thai). Department of Land Transport. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- พระราชบัญญัติรถยนต์ พ.ศ. 2522 [Motor Vehicle Act, B.E. 2522] (PDF) (in Thai).
- "พระราชบัญญัติรถยนตร์ทหาร พุทธศักราช 2476" [Military Vehicle Act, B.E. 2476] (PDF).
- กฎกระทรวงกลาโหม ออกตามความในมาตรา 9 แห่งพระราชบัญญัติรถยนต์ทหาร พุทธศักราช 2476 [Ministerial regulation of the Ministry of Defense issued under section 9 of the Military Vehicles Act, B.E. 2476]. Royal Thai Government Gazette (in Thai). 51: 758. 21 October 1934.
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