Turkish road traffic laws are similar to many European countries and when caught flouting them fines are due. But do you know the laws and the penalties for breaking them? 

Many Turkish people seem to drive without much regard to their life, the life of passengers or pedestrians. Running red lights, driving motor bikes without helmets, not wearing seat belts, overtaking on blind bends and drink driving all appear to be normal behaviour.  This makes casual observers wonder if there is any driver training or enforcement of driving laws in Turkey.

Well, believe it or not, Turkey does have comprehensive European style traffic laws and a range of fines to match. In 2007 drivers in Turkey were fined a total of 180 million YTL – 32 YTL for every driver on the road.

The thing is that the fines alone don’t seem to be having much of an impact and the numbers of deaths on the roads have been increasing every year since 1996. Did you know that there were 726 deaths per million vehicles in Turkey in 2006? In the same year the UK’s rate was only 102 even though there are 6 times more cars on the UK roads.

So what do you need to know to stay safe and fine free whilst driving?  Well the good thing is that there’s nothing that new for ex-pats to learn except maybe the first one in our list.


All drivers must carry their driving licence, ID, insurance and car papers (registration, tax receipts etc) with them at all times and must be able to produce them at the request of the authorities.
Failure to produce a valid licence will result in a fine of 238 YTL

Faliure to provide one of the other documents will result in a fine of 115 YTL

Drinking and Driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 per cent or more, penalties are severe. For drivers of cars with caravans or trailers or carrying passengers the alcohol level in the bloodstream is 0%.

The fines if caught exceeding the limits are as follows:

1st offence 480 YTL + suspension of licence

2nd offence 601 YTL + suspension of licence

3rd offence 963 YTL + more trouble than seems worth it if you haven’t learnt by now!


Dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility, and after sunset in built up areas. It is recommended that drivers use dipped headlights on fast roads out of town to increase visibility for other road users.


Wearing of crash helmets is compulsory. Fine for not wearing 55 YTL.

Motor Insurance

Third party insurance is compulsory.

Children in cars

Child under 12 cannot travel as front seat passengers.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Child seats are not compulsory.

The fine for not wearing a seat belt is 55 YTL per person.

{mosimage}Speed limits

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers.

In built-up areas 50 km/h,

Outside built-up areas 90 km/h for cars, 70km/h for motorcycles;

Motorways 120km/h for cars and 80km/h for motorcycles.

Minimum speed on motorways is 40 km/h.

Speed limits are 10km/h less if the car has a trailer or is a van or van derivative such as a Fiat Doblo, Ford Combi etc.

The Police allow for a 10% tolerance but only exceed the limit if you are confident your speedo is correct.

The fine for exceeding the speed limit is 115 YTL for between 10% and 30%

238 YTL if over 30%

Traffic Lights

These work the same as in most places in the world.

Red means stop
Amber – get ready
Green – Go but with caution. A flashing green means the lights are about to change to red.

The fine for driving through a red light is 115 YTL

Illegal Parking

Vehicles may be towed away if causing an obstruction or violating parking restrictions.

Fire extinguisher, first-aid kit including a space blanket and two warning triangles compulsory. You don’t have to carry a hi-viz jacket by law but it’s worth doing!

The use of the horn is generally prohibited in towns between 2200 hours until sunrise.

Playing music in your car too loud attracts a fine of 55 YTL

The use of spiked tyres is prohibited. It is recommended that winter tyres are used in snowy areas and snow chains are carried and used when conditions require it.


All fines are on-the-spot but a 25% discount is available if paid in cash.

And finally, the Police don’t even need to stop you to administer a fine but can record your registration number and place the fine on your vehicle tax record. The first you will know of the fine will be when you go to make your 6 monthly tax payment. So, watch out if you’re regular traffic offender you could have a sizable sum to pay next time you pay your tax.