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Occupants of vehicles of any kind who drink alcohol during travel are now subject to six months imprisonment and/or a Bt60,000 fine, the Office of Alcoholic Beverages announced yesterday.

The penalties will also be imposed on drinkers in vehicles parked on sidewalks or shoulders of public roads, including sois, regardless of whether the vehicles are moving, OAB director Samarn Footrakool said.

Passengers of railbased transport who drink are not subject to the penalties, which took effect on Wednesday. Drinking occupants and drivers will be equally liable for such violations. "The only exceptions under this law are occupants of vehicles parked in front of their homes," he said.

Stop Drink Foundation director Theera Watcharapranee said the law would be helpful in reducing road accident casualties associated with drunk driving, but a limit or restriction on sales of alcohol during long holiday breaks would be more supportive of the law. New restrictions on consumption and sale of alcohol in factories will take effect 90 days from Monday's endorsement of a separate law.

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