Life in Japan

Befriending the traffic police

30 June 2015

It has finally happened.

After more than a decade of driving, Fu got his first ever ticket from the traffic police.

Over the weekend, we drove to Izu, which was a 4 hour drive each way. We were on the highway when we heard the siren go off partially. Then the police car appeared beside us and signalled for us to stop.


We were guided to the side and after stopping, a policeman got out of the car and walked over to Fu’s window. He said he stopped us because we were going over the speed limit. He asked for Fu’s driver’s license but more surprisingly, he also asked Fu to get out of the car and follow him back to the police car.

Fu got out and went with him, but the rest of us in the car were freaking out. “Wait, why does he have to go into the car? Since when do they ask people to leave the car? What if they’re fake policemen? What if they just sped off with him?!!”

I was mentally prepping for the (unlikely) situation that if they suddenly drove away, I will jump into the driver’s seat and give chase. I believe our turbocharged Haru won’t lose out to their Toyota Crown! And I have enough experience playing Daytona. And Mario Kart. *rolls up sleeves and puts on game face*

Took a picture of the car just in case (mosaic-ing the number plate here)

They obviously didn’t drive anywhere lah. But Fu was sitting in their car for a very long time. The ones left behind in the car were very unsettled, wondering what on earth was taking so long.

After a long wait, Fu finally got out of the police car. He walked back, expressionless, and asked for his phone. I asked him what’s going on, but without answering me, he walked back and got back into the police car.

MISTER, WHAT IS GOING ON?! Why never even say anything! Will it kill you to say “It’s ok.” or “We’re in deep shit.” What’s with the suspense?!! >_>

Then in an attempt to lighten the situation, we started joking that maybe after chatting for so long, they became friends and he took his phone so that they can add each other on Facebook lol.

After another long wait, he finally came back. With the speeding ticket in hand.

We got a ticket for driving at 94km/h on a 70km/h highway. 15,000 yen ($150). Ouch.

So why did he take so long? What happened was… yes, he was in fact chitchatting with them -_-

And he came back to retrieve his phone because… he was required to fill out his phone number on the form, but he forgot his own number -__-

Fu said he was quite excited about being caught for the first time so he took the chance to ask the policemen all the things he was curious about. He even asked if he could take a photo of the radar machine that displayed his 94km/h offence! This boy is siao. The policemen denied his request because they said it was “evidence” thus he couldn’t photograph it. I’m surprised they didn’t just give him a second fine.

I think he was pestering them so much they caved and gave him some tips to get him off their backs LOL.

1. Maximum buffer
The maximum speed they will close their eyes to is +10km/h. So if it’s a 70km/h road and you’re driving at 80km/h, chances are they’ll just look the other way.

2. Speed without getting caught
If you absolutely have to speed, make sure to follow another speeding car, because they usually catch only the first car. On occasion, they do round up multiple speeding cars, but very rarely.

Other random questions include asking them to explain the charges:

Up to 20km/h above the limit: 12,000 yen
20-24km/h above the limit: 15,000 yen & -2 points
25-29km/h above the limit: 18,000 yen & -2 points
30km/h above the limit: 100,000 yen & 1 year suspension of license

Actually… before they caught him, he was actually driving at 120km/h for a while. Shhhh. THANK OUR LUCKY STARS they caught him after he slowed down to below 100km/h because not only will we be $1000 poorer, but I will also have to take on full-time driving shift o_O

Because he played the friendly and chummy pal card, he also attempted to weasel his way out of the ticket.

“Singapore is so small and we can drive at 100km/h, but Japan is so big and we can only drive at 70km/h?! It would take forever to go anywhere!”
“It’s my first time, can’t you let me off with a warning? Please???”

Anyway, the answer is no. They said that once they catch someone, there’s no such thing as letting them off with just a warning.

The final piece of advice they gave him was, “We’ll be continuing down this highway, so don’t let us catch you speeding again!”

Fu was taken aback and asked, “What? You mean I can be fined twice on the same day, on the same road?!”

The answer is… yes.

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