Why you are not caught exceeding the legal speed limit in Japan

Why you are not caught exceeding the legal speed limit in Japan Car

According to the government’s published statistics on road traffic law violations, the total number of arrests for speeding during 2021 amounted to 1,064,788.

Of these, only 198 arrests were made for exceeding the speed limit of less than 15 km/h. Why are speeding violations of less than 15 km/h extremely rare?

The reason behind this is that it is simply too difficult to make arrests.

The following data is a breakdown of the speed ranges in which arrests were made: 

  • 50 km/h or more: 12,106 cases; 
  • 30 to 50 km/h: 143,567 cases; 
  • 25 to 30 km/h: 216,884 cases; 
  • 20 to 25 km/h: 362,808 cases; 
  • 15 to 20 km/h: 329,225 cases; 
  • Under 15 km/h: 198 cases. 

This indicates that speeding under 15 km/h accounts for less than 0.1% of the total number of arrests. This may be due to the fact that the current crackdown on speeding is based on a tailgating system using motorcycles and police cars.

This method measures excess speed by following a vehicle that may be speeding for a certain distance behind it.
Therefore, it is more difficult to determine the speed limit for speeding violations of less than 15 km/h than for speeding violations of 15 km/h or more. This tendency may be even bigger on busy arterial roads.
Conversely, the speed range in which most arrests are made is between 20 and 25 km/h. This is because driving beyond this speed range is difficult to be specified as a speeding violation. This is probably because many drivers consider driving above this speed range for granted.

To give an example, driving at 55 to 65 km/h on a road with a 40 km/h speed limit is a very possible situation.

Especially on arterial roads, it is possible to drive at an excessive speed to keep up with the flow of cars around you. Some drivers may speed up even more if there is an open space.

However, regardless of the number of arrests made or the excess speed, speeding is a clear violation of road traffic laws.

Vehicles must not drive faster than the maximum speed specified by road signs and markings or, in the absence of such signs and markings, the legal speed limit specified by government ordinance.

The rate of fatal accidents increases as the speed exceeds the legal speed limit, so it is advisable to be aware that exceeding the legal speed limit by even one kilometer is a speeding violation and to drive safely on a regular basis.