This means backseat passengers will have to buckle up not just on highways but on any road.
From Sept. 28, following a six-month grace period, the driver will be slapped with a fine of 30,000 won ($28) if a passenger aged 13 or older is not wearing a seat belt, and 60,000 won if the passenger is under the age of 13.
The rules apply only to vehicles that are fitted with seat belts. They don’t apply to city buses that have no seat belts for passengers.
For taxis and buses that do have seat belts, the police plan to revise the enforcement rules so that the drivers are not fined as it is difficult to control passengers who refuse to buckle up even after being instructed to by the driver.
It has been compulsory for all passengers to wear seat belts on expressways since 1980, and on motorways as well since 2011.
Under the newly proclaimed revised road traffic law, drivers who have failed to pay road traffic penalties or fines will not be able to get international driving permits from Sept. 28.
Also from Sept. 28, cyclists riding under the influence of alcohol will face fines of up to 200,000 won or detention. Traffic authorities will test bicyclists around restaurants or convenience stores where groups of cyclists are often found drinking.
Bike riders will also be required to wear helmets although there will be no punishment for violators. Only children were required to wear helmets so far.
Under the revised law, motorists who do not take safety measures when parking or stopping on a slope -- such as using wheel chocks or turning the front wheels toward the curb -- will be slapped with penalties from Sept. 28. Starting Jan. 1 next year, drivers aged 75 or more will have to take an aptitude test to renew their license every three years, down from the current five years. They won’t be able to acquire or renew their license if they don’t attend an education session on traffic safety for elderly drivers.
Vulnerable road users such as the elderly and the disabled who have been allowed to ride electric bicycles on sidewalks, will not be able to do so when the motor is running. A penalty of 30,000 won will be imposed on the violators, starting Wednesday.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)