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Living Information

Living Q & A: Will my license be cancelled for 3 traffic violations?

2022.01.28

外国人暮らしのQ&A「 3回も交通違反をしたが、免許取り消しになるか」

Q:

I recently got caught for speeding. I may get 6 demerit points (for driving more than 30 km/h and less than 50 km/h over the speed limit on a general road). Last year, I got 2 points for another traffic violation, and 2 more points for another earlier this year. I'd like to know how many demerit points you can get before your license is cancelled. I was driving my own car the first and second times, but I was driving my wife's car the last time. Will my wife be held responsible for the last violation?

A:

In addition to fines (bakkin / 罰金) and criminal punishment for those committing traffic violations (kōtsu ihan / 交通違反) and causing road accidents (kōtsū jiko / 交通事故), one may also find oneself subject to the suspension or cancellation of one's driver's license or other administrative measures (gyōsei shobun / 行政処分) carried out by the Public Safety Commission (kōan iinkai / 公安委員会).


The number of basic demerit points (kiso tensū / 基礎点数) applied to each individual violation, and the number of additional demerit points (fuka tensū / 付加点数) applicable depending on the extent of damage and injury, etc. in an accident, are predetermined. The standard administrative measures to be applied to a driver of a vehicle depend on their prior record, namely the number of times the driver has had their license suspended, and the demerit points accumulated, during the previous three years from the date of the traffic violation (or accident) in question.


In your case, it seems that you do not have a previous history of being subject to administrative measures, i.e. having your license suspended (teishi / 停止) or cancelled (torikeshi / 取消し), over the least three years, and the four demerit points accumulated from your previous two violations were not enough to result in suspension of your license. If you were given six demerit points for your third, most recent violation, you would then have accumulated 10 points. Even with no previous history of having your license suspended or other administrative measures, it seems that you would be subject to a 60-day suspension (30 days for 6 to 8 accumulated demerit points, 60 days for 9 to 11 accumulated demerit points). If you were to accumulate 15 or more demerit points, your license would be subject to cancellation, even without any previous history of suspension.


In principle, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for the violation, so even if the driver was using a vehicle registered to another owner at the time of the violation, the driver, not the owner, will be subject to a fine or criminal punishment.


For more information on demerit points applied to traffic violations, etc. we recommend that you consult the police, or a lawyer or administrative scrivener (gyōseishoshi / 行政書士) familiar with the application of administrative measures to traffic violations.



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A free civic advisory service for foreign residents is available in person or by telephone at the Information Counter. A dedicated member of staff provides consultations on issues encountered by foreign residents in their day to day lives, in 9 languages.

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