Penalty Point System Has Tamed Reckless Drivers

Penalty Point System Has Tamed Reckless DriversPenalty Point System Has Tamed Reckless Drivers

The penalty or demerit point system introduced in the 2011 traffic law has been far more effective than imposing heavy fines to check road traffic offences and reckless driving.

Traffic police are keen to ensure road safety and the penalty point system has helped ensure safe driving and reduced traffic related accidents and deaths, said Col. Hassan Abedi, a senior traffic police official.

Last year (ended March 20), licenses of more than 550 drivers were suspended.

“The initiative is seen to have an impact since drivers are ready to pay double the cash penalty but not prepared to have their licenses suspended,” he noted.

Most of the drivers who had penalty points were careful not to repeat the offence.

“The point system serves as a preventive tool to curb recklessness and enhance safe driving. Those booked for specific high-risk driving offences get penalty points that find mention on their track record,” Tabnak News Agency quoted him as saying.

Some of the offences include failing to comply with traffic signal lights, driving at dangerous speed (30 to 50 km/h in excess of the speed limit), using a cell phone while driving at a speed of more than 60 km/h and driving under the influence of drugs or alcoholic drinks.

The point system was introduced as a deterrent for rash driving since most of the people killed or maimed in traffic accidents are young.

“Average age of road accident victims is 35,” said Col. Morad Moradi, technical deputy of the Tehran Traffic Police. Among the causes of serious traffic accidents, speed is by far the most important factor. Accidents that occur at high speeds are often fatal.

Under the system, each traffic offense invites a number of negative points. For instance, driving under the influence of liquor and at a dangerous speed will have 10 penalty points each.

If the total points on a person’s record equal or exceed 30, the court can suspend the driver’s license for three months and if a driver gets more than 25 negative points the second time, the license is suspended for six months.

In the third consecutive case of negligence, the driving license is revoked. A fresh driving license will be issued only after passing a new training program and paying a penalty $300, Abedi said.

“When a driver doesn’t commit any traffic offenses for a six-month period between two violations, the  negative points are declared void; but not for drivers who have reached the 25 penalty point ceiling for the second time,” he added.


In order to curb over speeding, 600 surveillance cameras have also been installed along the national highways.

Despite the fact that many organizations and NGOs are striving to reduce the number of traffic accidents, the situation is not desirable, Abedi said. At present, traffic accidents represent a disproportionately high number of fatalities. Annually, 14,000 people lose their lives in road mishaps, among whom 77% are men. Most of the road accidents occur between 4pm and 8pm.

Also, 60 to 65 % of road accidents occur near cities rather than in the middle of inter-urban roads, which means that when drivers get nearer their destination, their attention is diverted.