China Penalty Points – All you Need to Know


In 2013 China introduced a penalty system as part of the drivers’ license reform. Like in many other countries certain violations will be penalized with points which accumulate over time.

So let’s have a quick overview and then get into the details of how much you can “earn” for which violation. (Reference: Provisions on the Application for and Use of Motor Vehicle Driving Licenses, 2019 Amendment)

The following violation will be punished with 12 demerit points

Driving a motor vehicle other than the permitted vehicle type;
Driving a motor vehicle after alcohol intake; the accompanying penalty includes a 6-month detain of the driver’s license and a fine within 2000RMB; (Note that by driving a motor vehicle when intoxicated one is committing a crime and is subject to criminal penalties, and the driver’s license will be withdrawn for 5 years and banned from re-applying during this period.)
Driving a commercially operated bus ( taxis, school buses, and long-distance buses, excluding city buses) carrying above 20% more passengers than the authorized capacity;
Escaping after a traffic accident that does not constitute a crime;
If a motorized vehicle on a road does not have a motor vehicle license plate, or deliberately covers, defiles, or fails to install a motor vehicle number plate as required;
The use of forged or altered motor vehicle number plates, vehicle licenses, driver’s licenses, school vehicle signs, or number plates or vehicle licenses of other vehicles;
Reversing or driving backwards on the highway or crossing the central divider;
Parking a commercially operated bus inside of freeway lane;
Driving a medium-sized bus or freight vehicle, school bus or freight vehicle transporting hazardous goods on highways or urban expressways at a speed exceeding over 20% of the speed limit , or at a speed exceeding over 50% of the speed limit on other roads; or driving at a speed exceeding over 50% of the speed limit with other types of motor vehicles;
Driving a medium-sized bus or freight vehicle transporting hazardous goods more than 4 hours without a rest time of at least 20 minutes;
Driving school buses without obtaining a school bus driving qualification.

A total of 6 demerit points will be awarded for the following violations

Driving a motor vehicle while the driver’s license is temporarily detained;
Driving motor vehicles in violation of road traffic lights
Driving a commercially operated bus ( excluding city buses) or school buse carrying below 20% more passengers than the authorized capacity, or driving other types of vehicles above 20% more passengers than the authorized capacity;
Driving a medium-sized bus or freight vehicle, school bus or freight vehicle transporting hazardous goods on highways or urban expressways at a speed exceeding below 20% of the speed limit;
Driving a medium-sized bus or freight vehicle, school bus or freight vehicle transporting hazardous goods on roads other than highways or urban expressways at a speed exceeding over 20% but less than 50% of the speed limit, or driving other types of motor vehicles at a speed exceeding over 20% but less than 50% of the speed limit;
Driving a freight vehicle loaded with over 30% more goods than the authorized load capacity or carrying passengers against regulations;
Parking a motor vehicle other than a commercially operated passenger bus inside of freeway lane;
Driving a motor vehicle on the emergency lane on highways or urban expressways illegally;
Not following the regulations when driving under low-visibility meteorological conditions on the highway;
Not following the specified time, route, or speed, or not hanging obvious signs when carrying nondetachable oversized articles;
Not following the designated time, route, or speed, or not hanging warning signs and taking necessary safety measures when driving motor vehicles carrying explosives, flammable and explosive chemicals, or hazardous substances such as highly toxic and radioactive substances;
Request the replacement the motor vehicle driver’s license with concealment or deception (when the original one is not lost or missing);
Driving motor vehicles in violation of the traffic light signals;
Driving motor vehicles without avoiding school buses as required.

For these violations the driver will receive 3 demerit points

Driving a vehicle other than the commercially operated buses ( excluding city buses) and school buses carrying below 20% more passengers than the authorized capacity;
Driving a medium-sized bus or freight vehicle, or freight vehicle transporting hazardous goods on highways or urban expressways at a speed exceeding below 20% of the speed limit, or driving other types of motor vehicles at a speed exceeding below 20% of the speed limit;
Driving a freight vehicle loaded with below 30% more goods than the authorized load capacity;
Driving a motor vehicle on the freeway at a speed below the minimum speed;
Driving a motor vehicle on the wrong lanes;
Driving a motor vehicle that is prohibited from entering highways onto the highway;
Passing the pedestrian cross without slowing down, stopping or giving way to pedestrians as required;
Violating the prohibition signs or prohibition line indications;
Fails to overtake or give way according to regulations, or drive on reverse direction;
Hauling a trailer on the motor vehicle against regulations;
After the motor vehicle is parked on the road because of a breakdown or an accident, the lights and warning signs are not used as specified;
Motor vehicles traveling on the road fail to perform the safety technical inspections on a regular basis, i.e. the annual inspection, as required.

The driver will receive 2 points for the following violations

Failing to drive or park according to regulations when driving motor vehicles passing crossroads;
Receiving or making phone calls, or conducting other actions that hinder driving safety when driving motor vehicles;
Driving a two-wheeled motorcycle without wearing a safety helmet;
The safety belt is not buckled when driving a motor vehicle;
The cut-in-line behavior;
Failing to equip the school bus with safety equipment or failing to maintain the school bus in accordance with the regulations;
Failing to place a school bus sign, opening a school bus sign light, or failing to follow a route that has been verified through examination when driving a school bus to carry students;
Letting students get on and off the school bus at stops other than the specified ones;
Using school bus signs, school bus lights, and parking signs when driving a school bus without students.
Failing to check whether the school bus’ condition meets the safety technical requirements, or if the school bus has any hidden safety hazards before driving a school bus on the road;
Refueling a school bus when there are students inside, or leaving the driver’s seat with the engine still on;

And finally violations worth 1 demerit point

Failing to use lights in accordance with regulations when driving a motor vehicle;
Failing to cross with other cars in accordance with regulations when driving a motor vehicle;
The length, width, and height of the goods carried by a motor vehicle exceed the regulated dimensions;
A motor vehicle driving on the road fails to have the inspection certificate or insurance mark placed at a visible spot or the driver does not carry the vehicle license or driver’s license with him/her.

Q&A

1. If somebody drove my car and conducted a violation, whose demerit point will be deducted?


– The penalty and the demerit point are conducted simultaneously. That means the person who broke the traffic law will bear the penalty and has his/her demerit points deducted, regardless of who the owner is.

2. Am I subject to the (traffic rule) learning if I have some demerit points deducted but not all 12?
– No. If you didn’t have all the 12 demerit points deducted, you don’t need to. If all the 12 demerit points in this point period are deducted, you need to join a 7-day study session within 15 days and get educated on the laws and regulations with regards to the road traffic security. After the study session, you will need to join an exam (Subject one) within 20 days.

3. How many ways to pay a parking ticket?

a. Pay at the service counter. You can go to the Administrative Service Center or the Traffic Police Brigade to pay with cash or a bank card. Remember to bring your driver’s license and vehicle’s license.
b. Pay online. Many cities offer online channels for public affairs. Find the website of the Police Administrative Office in your city and pay the parking ticket with a bank card online.

Getting a parking ticket will not lead to the deduction of your demerit points, the common penalty is a 200RMB fine. Pay attention to the due date, overdue will incur a surcharge.

Well, that’s it. Don’t forget to check out my cross-platform App to get your license and drive safely.