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Traffic Rules, Korea

Traffic Rules, Korea

Following is information on some basic traffic regulations. 

Minimum Driving Age is 18 years of age for cars and 16 for motorcycles

Speed limits:
On ordinary roads:        60km/hr
Roads over 5-lanes:      80km/hr
Motorways:              30-90km/hr  (see traffic signs for posted speed)
Highways – 4-lanes:      50-100km/hr
Highways – 2-lanes:      48-80km/hrReduce speed by 20% during rain or now. 

Safety belts must be worn by all passengers when the vehicle is in motions. Failure to comply can result in a fine of at least W30,000. 

Cell phones use is prohibited to drivers unless it’s a ‘hands-free’ set. Failure to comply can result in a fine. 

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City Bus lanes  give priority to public buses during rush hour(s) and can be identified by the painted blue line. Bus-only rules apply from 7:00 to 21:00 on weekdays and 7:00 to 15:00 on Saturdays. Sundays are open.  Bus lanes are often in the middle of the road and are not confined to the curb lanes. (Note: does this mean that buses will stay inside their lines? Absolutely not.)
Highways also have Express Bus-Only lanes. These are generally the far left lane and are in effect from 9:00 to 23:00 every day. Only vehicles (vans/buses) carrying 8 or more people are allowed in the bus only lane. 

Left turns are generally only allowed if the traffic light shows a left-turn arrow. The same can apply for right turns at some busy intersections; otherwise you can make a right turn on a red light. 

Traffic Violations Points System
Drivers accumulate points for traffic violations or traffic accidents. Once a certain number of points have been accumulated, the person's driving license may be cancelled or suspended. For example, if a driver accumulates more than 40 penalty points for traffic violations, her/his license may be suspended. Cancellation of the license will occur if the driver has accumulated more than 121 points in one year, 201 points in 2 years or 271 points in 3 years. Refusal to submit to breathalyzer test, leaving the scene of an accident, driving with a suspended license can result in immediate cancellation of one's driving license.
Point Penalities:
10 points: lane changing violation, no passing zone violation, engaging in disputes/arguments on the road that interferes with traffic, etc.
15 points: signal violation (crossing on a red/amber light), use of cell phone while driving, no passing violation, exceeding speed limity by 20-40km/hr, bus-only lane violation, etc.
30 points: crossing the center divide line, exceeding speed limit by 40km/hr, driving on highway shoulder, railrod crossing violation, etc.
15 points: signal violation (crossing on a red/amber light), use of cell phone while driving, no passing violation, exceeding speed limity by 20-40km/hr, bus-only lane violation, etc.
2-15 points per injury depending on the seriousness (based on healing/treament time) of the injury
90 points: per death if the victim dies within 72 hours of the accident 
Speeding 40km/hr over limit: W90,000 car; W60,000 motorcycle
Signal violation, u-turn/reverse violation, pedestrian crossing violation, mobile phone usage: W60,000 passenger car; W40,000 motorcycle
Parking violation, bus-only lane violation, emergency violation yielding violation, failing to drive safely (including dangerious driving): W40,000 passenger car; W30,000 motorcyle.

Drinking and Driving is a serious offense in Korea and the law is more often enforced than not these days.
Driving while intoxicated (this means a blood alcohol level of over 0.05%) is punishable by imprisonment of up to 2 years and a fine of up to 3 million won.
Driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.05-0.35% is punishable by law, and those with over 0.36% are arrested and detained.
Anyone who has been caught drinking and driving on 3 previous occasions is automatically detained, regardless of the degree of intoxication.
- Drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.05% to 0.09% will have their license suspended for 100 days.
- Those found with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.10% or more than 0.05% when involved in an accident resulting in loss of life will have their license revoked. 
- Drivers who refuse an alcohol level test
 face cancellation of their license.

When you reach the officer, you must stop, roll down the window and quickly breathe into the breathalyzer – it takes only a second...if you pass the test.

Traffic/Parking Tickets
Drivers can check their traffic/parking tickets through online efine (www.efine.go.kr) before they receive them through mail. However, you need a 공인인증서 (public key/digital certificate) to access your history. Once you receive a ticket, you can pay at the bank, post office, or online banking (you can see the special bank account number on the ticket or with credit card to www.cardrotax.or.kr (~1-2% user fee).
To find out at which bank you should make your payment, look on the left side of the ticket; you'll see the date and then the fine amount below it (twice) and below that is the bank name and account number.
NOTE: You will need access to Windows (Internet Explorer for cardrotax as you'll have to download ActiveX) to use the above websites. No access via Mac (as of Spring 2016).
You can refuse the ticket and go to police station for the full video and more detailed information, but success is not guaranteed.

K4E Editor: We try to make the information on Korea4Expats.com as complete and accurate as possible, so if you notice any errors or omissions in the content above, please let us know at info@korea4expats.com.
Some of the above (fines/penalties, etc.) are from the Korea Driver's License Agency.

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Last Updated on 2022-02-25

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