Driving in North Korea and Speed Limit Regulations

Sunday 24th February, 2013

driving in north korea

If you have ever driven, you have probably been caught at least once by a speed camera for driving over the speed limit. Speed cameras catch vehicles that violate the speed limit, regardless of the type of car and its driver’s socio-economic ranking. It could perhaps be said that speed cameras are the most equitable type of law enforcement.

Moreover, speed limits are enforced not with regard to which lane you are driving in, but with regard to the section of road you are driving through.

North Korean refugee Jung Jin-hwan comes from Pyongyang. He had this to say about the South Korean speed limit regulations. “After adjusting to my new life in South Korea, I went to the beach with some friends. I found it very strange that here, if the speed limit is 100km, everyone going through that section of road must abide by the limit, and if the limit is 90 km, likewise.

But in North Korea, each lane has a different speed limit, regardless of what section of road you are on. The first lane is reserved for senior officials, so they can drive at whatever speed they want. It amazed me that in South Korea, regardless of who you are, you can be reported for violating the speed limit.”

Driving in North Korea, the speed limit regulations differ depending on which lane you are driving in. As shown in the picture above, the limits are 70 km/h, 60 km/h and 40 km/h for the first, second, and third lanes, respectively.

For those living in the ‘third lane’, there is no possibility to change lanes.

In most of the world, speed limits exist for safety considerations. In North Korea, speed limits exist to reinforce the social hierarchy.

Proudly in partnership with

Wednesday 8th March, 2017

North Korea is one of the few countries in the world where International Women’s Day is a national holiday – well, sort of. In North Korea, what the free world calls International Women’s Day...

Monday 19th December, 2016

In Korean language and society, honourifics are of utmost importance. The polite form ('jondaetmal') is used for those who demand or deserve respect. In South Korea, this often means somebody who...

Thursday 3rd November, 2016

As their financial situations worsen, 40-year-old North Korean mothers must sell their bodies to return home: an insight into North Korea's underground sex industry. North Korea’s informal e...

Monday 19th September, 2016

High school students have been asked to spy on one another during a new round of propaganda lectures early September. The North Korean state began a round of propaganda lectures in schools in e...