Traffic police crack down on unpaid fines

Xu Lingchao
As part of a new campaign, drivers who fail to acknowledge more than four tickets in a single year could soon have the cops knocking at their door.
Xu Lingchao

Shanghai Traffic Police launched a campaign on Thursday against drivers who fail to acknowledge traffic tickets for longer than 15 days.

During the campaign, which will last until the end of November, police will personally visit driving offenders who ignore more than four traffic tickets within a single year and urge them to settle their outstanding fines.

The police will also use license plate recognition systems to identify cars that have more than four tickets overdue and stop them on the road.

In China, when a driver is fined for an offense detected by traffic monitoring cameras, they are delivered a ticket in the mail. According to the country's Road Traffic Safety Law, the driver then has 15 days to acknowledge receipt of the ticket with authorities and settle the fine.

Some drivers, however, ignore this rule and let unpaid tickets pile up.

“If a driver stopped by officers is the owner of the car, we will demand that they accept the penalty on the spot,” said Zhang Liqing from the traffic police.

Meanwhile, the traffic police will also target drivers who acknowledge fines yet are still in payment arrears for more than 15 days.

A daily overdue fee, which is 3 percent of the original fine, will apply from the 16th day until the amount of additional interest exceeds the sum of the original penalty.

“If you have received a 200-yuan (US$28) penalty for illegal parking and failed to pay it within 15 days,” Zhang explained, “you will have to pay an extra 6 yuan each day until the sum of the penalty and the interest reach 400 yuan.”

Drivers who are made to pay such late fees more than four times within a year will have their delinquency recorded in the city's credit rating system.

Zhang said in the past, drivers had to go to the offices of traffic police to pay the fines. Many often pay multiple penalties at once so that they wouldn’t have to go to the police office too often.

“But now the drivers can download apps such as 12123 and Shanghai Traffic Police on their smartphones to pay the penalties,” Zhang said. “We urge all drivers not to delay payment anymore.”

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