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MOSCOW, September 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Federation Council upper house of parliament is in favor of tougher punishment for drunk driving, Vice Speaker Svetlana Orlova said on Monday.
“We believe that if a driver was stopped in a drunken state, criminal penalty must follow,” she said. However, the punishment for drunk driving must be discussed publicly, including via the Internet, Orlova added.
The vice speaker believes that these offers may cause mixed reaction in the society. “I assure you that half of male drivers will be against it,” she said, expressing hope that most people will support tougher sanctions against drunk drivers.
The issue is widely discussed after the recent tragedy in Moscow when a drunken driver ploughed his car into a bus stop in western Moscow on September 22, killing seven people.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suggested tightening punishment for traffic accidents provoked by drunken drivers. "Obviously, one must think of a harder punishment for such crimes because even with such a horrible aftermath as in the recent traffic accident in Moscow, the envisaged punishment is rather moderate," Medvedev said at a meeting with his deputies on Monday.
Leader of the United Russia faction in the State Duma lower house, Andrei Vorobyov, said that the United Russia would press ahead for harder punishment to drunk drivers, in particular suggesting fines of at least 100,000 roubles for drunk driving, stripping such drivers of a driving license either for a long term or for the term of one’s live if implicated in drunk driving a second time.
Vorobyov did not rule out that criminal punishment might be administered even if no casualties are entailed, but if the driver in question had been detained for drunk driving earlier.