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State Duma to discuss tougher penalties for traffic rules violations

September 25, 2012, 12:12 UTC+3
The parliamentarians raised the issue of tougher penalties for traffic rules violations after the tragedy in western Moscow on September 22
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MOSCOW, September 25 (Itar-Tass) — The committee for constitutional legislation and state development at the Russian parliament will discuss with road police officials on Tuesday amendments to the legislation in connection with the latest tragic car crashes.

Today, at 14:15, Moscow time, the committee will hold an expanded meeting. Senior road police officials have been invited; I should say they honestly and very humanely recto to violations, to the tragedies there are,” chairman of the Committee Vladimir Pligin said at a plenary meeting earlier in the day.

“We intend to have a discussion with our respected colleagues who analyze articles of the penal code. They say that penalties will probably have to be tougher for a number of violations.

“Perhaps, we should fix, to a certain extent, the lower threshold of sanctions; also, we should probably raise their upper limit.

“At least five provisions of the Code of Administrative Offense require a substantive analysis. They cover driving along an incoming lane, exceeding speed limit and disuse of safety belts and helmets.

“It’s very important to show a professional approach in all these cases; the parliament can do it,” Pligin said.

The parliamentarians raised the issue of tougher penalties for traffic rules violations after the tragedy in western Moscow on September 22. Driver Alexander Maximov, in a state of alcoholic intoxication, fatally ran over seven persons at a bus stop.

Among the victims were five adolescents, laureates of the Moscow creativity festival for handicapped children.

Reports said police had suspended Maximov’s driving license for drunk driving at least once.

Criminal proceedings over the fatal road accident were opened under Article 264 of Russia’s Criminal Code /violation of traffic rules by a person in a state of alcoholic intoxication which resulted in the death of two or more people”/. The maximum penalty is nine years in prison and suspension of driving license for up to three years.

On Monday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev offered to toughen the punishment for road accidents caused by drunk drivers.

"Perhaps, we should consider tougher criminal responsibility for these crimes, because even with such terrible consequences as the latest car crash in Moscow, the responsibility is rather moderate," Medvedev said at a meeting with his deputies.

Head of the State Duma committee for civil, criminal, arbitration and procedural legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov /United Russia/ told Tass he could not rule out that the maximum limit for penalties for drunk driving that results in fatal car crash might be raised.

"If it's about mere drunk driving, fines must be hiked of course. But if we talk fatalities, the effective maximum penalty of nine years /in jail/ "may be toughened, but not to life imprisonment, as some suggest.

"Because in that case, the sentence for robberies will be more lenient, or we'll give a stimulus to this person to run away and so on. But the 9-year-limit might be raised," the lawmaker confirmed.

Head of the United Russia faction Andrei Vorobyov said his colleagues had proposed to fine drunk drivers at least 100,000 roubles, while reoffending should be punished by suspending driving license for life or an extend period.

"Even if drunk driving has not caused fatalities, but the person has reoffended, he might face criminal punishment," Vorobyov said.

Meanwhile, Moscow road police stopped over 80 drunk drivers on the first day of weeklong monitoring.

"During September 24 checks, Moscow road police units exposed 81 cases of traffic rules violations by persons in a state of alcoholic intoxication, and logged 49 refusals to undergo an alcotest," road police said.

The monitoring is effective until October 1, with the view of preventing gross violations of traffic rules.

Police said 7,141 drunk drivers have been caught since the beginning of this year, and there have been 7,759 cases of drivers' refusing to undergo alcotest. "Alone from January through August 2012, drunk drivers caused 152 road crashes in Moscow, in which 15 person died and another 205 were injured. The casualty’s toll does not include the latest crash in which seven persons at a bus stop were killed by a drunk driver.

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