Police Agency drafts more-forgiving traffic law

The National Police Agency has drafted a bill revising the Road Traffic Law that would remove minor traffic offenses from the records of drivers whose licenses have been suspended if they attend traffic school or participate in volunteer activities.

The revision would apply to drivers who have had their license suspended for 30 days after repeated minor traffic offenses, and not to those with more serious offenses, such as driving under the influence of alcohol. The NPA estimates that some 500,000 drivers would be eligible to have their licenses wiped clean.

Offenders will be able to either take a day of safe-driving lessons or spend less than a day in volunteer activities, such as helping children or elderly people cross streets, the NPA sources said. Under the proposal, drivers aged 75 or older will receive a special silver sign for their cars to alert other drivers to take extra care. Elderly drivers will also be required to take lessons in the classroom and behind the wheel when they renew their licenses, they said.

In addition, the employers of drivers who repeat offenses will risk having their work licenses suspended if they had been previously told to improve working conditions for their drivers, they said. The proposed bill will be presented during the current Diet session following approval at a Cabinet meeting Mar. 11, the sources said. The current law allows drivers with a 30-day suspended license to have the suspension reduced to only one day if they take six hours of safe-driving lessons, prompting the NPA review.