Korean Law Demystified!

‘Reckless Driving’ & ‘Retaliatory Driving’ are Crimes (in Korea)!


For this post, I’ve translated “난폭운전” as “reckless driving” and “보복운전” as “retaliatory driving.” Both are crimes in South Korea.

I. Reckless Driving (난폭운전)

“Reckless driving” refers to any two of the following done successively OR any one of the following done repetitively –> thereby endangering other motorists: 1) signal violation, 2) crossing the center line, 3) speeding, 4) illegal crossing/U-turn/backing, 5) unlawful lane change, 6) sudden deceleration, 7) unlawful overtaking, 8) failure to maintain a safe distance, and 9) honking or making loud noises w/o justification.

The criminal punishment for “reckless driving” is max 1 year or 5 mil won. The clip above is of a reckless driver/streamer recently caught.

II. Retaliatory Driving (보복운전)

“Retaliatory driving” is a form of road rage which refers to deliberately driving one’s vehicle in a threatening/dangerous manner with the intent to harm/threaten a specific motorist or cause damage to his/her vehicle.

“Retaliatory driving” normally constitutes the crime of “Special Intimidation” (특수협박), and the punishment is max 7 years or 10 mil won. The clip above is of an angry airport bus driver. He retaliated after an SUV cut him off. (He was on duty with passengers on board!)

Retaliatory drivers sometimes get away with this crime by performing a threatening/dangerous maneuver only once. They later say it wasn’t deliberate – that they did so by mistake or to protect a pedestrian. For this crime, establishing intent (beyond a reasonable doubt) is critical.

Your license can now be revoked for engaging in “retaliatory driving.”

DID YOU KNOW? Korean police have been cracking down on “reckless driving” and “retaliatory driving.” Since February of this year, they have arrested 803 motorists. FYI, anyone can report, but you need footage.

Recently, I was able to read De Ira (On Anger) written by Seneca. (I read it in Korean.) In the book/essay, Seneca challenges the notion: “Anger is sometimes necessary and justified.” Philosophy books often help me clarify what the truly important things in life are. Then, I try to focus on those things. I say philosophy books are the best self-help books!

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