Penalties set for drivers who conceal illnesses

Kyodo

Lawmakers on Friday passed a revision to the Road Traffic Law that includes the possibility of imprisonment for concealing serious illnesses such as epilepsy and schizophrenia when applying for or renewing a driver’s license.

The revised law also has stiffer penalties for people driving without a license, as well as penalties for people providing cars to unlicensed drivers.

False declaration of an illness that may hamper driving is subject to imprisonment of one year or less or a fine of ¥300,000 or less. The law has a provision allowing doctors who treat drivers with applicable illnesses to voluntarily report to the local public safety commission, which oversees police forces.

Penalties for driving without a license have been lifted to imprisonment of three years or less or a fine of ¥500,000 or less, in place of a maximum one year in prison and up to ¥300,000 in fine.

If a person provides a car to an unlicensed driver, they will be subject to three years or less in prison or fined ¥500,000 or less under the revised law. Passengers knowingly traveling with an unlicensed driver will also be subject to up to two years in prison or a fine of ¥300,000.

The sickness provisions take effect within one year and those concerning unlicensed driving come into force within six months.