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Arsen Avakov: We need to strengthen the responsibility for traffic violations for the sake of life and safety of all residents of Ukraine! (PHOTOS, PRESENTATION)

10.11.2017 09:48

On November 10, 2017, at a meeting of the Ukrainian Government, the Minister of the Internal Affairs proposed to amend some laws and regulations related to the road safety.  The Cabinet of Ministers supported this initiative and decided to submit corresponding bills to the Parliament immediately.  After finalizing and taking into account all amendments, the package of documents will be transferred to the Verkhovna Rada.

"I hope for the support of the People’s Deputies and urgent adoption of relevant decisions.  The new rules of traffic control and the radical enhancing of punishments for their violations, especially for driving under the influence of alcohol, is a decisive step towards safety and order on the road!", - stated Arsen Avakov.

There is a catastrophic situation now in our country in the field of road safety.  In 2016, almost 155 thousand road traffic accidents occurred in Ukraine, and more than 25 thousand such accidents led to casualties.  As a result, more than 32 thousand persons received injuries, and 3187 persons died.

During the first nine months of 2017, almost 117 thousand road accidents have already occurred, in which more than 25 thousand people received injuries, and 2317 people died.  On average, eight persons die every day in Ukraine as a result of a road traffic accident and 92 people are injured.

For comparison, in the period from January 1, 2016, until January 1, 2017, 763 servicemen and law enforcers were killed in the ATO zone.  It means that in 2016 more people died on the roads of Ukraine than in the ATO zone, where combat operations are underway with the use of modern weapons!

The main causes of road traffic accidents in Ukraine are the following:

1) exceeding the maximum permitted speed of the vehicle;

2) violation of rules for maneuvering;

3) violation of rules on driving through intersections;

4) non-observance of a safe distance;

5) driving under the influence of alcohol.

Driving in a drunk state, as a rule, entails a violation of other road traffic regulations (including those mentioned above) due to loss of concentration, loss of attention and loss of sense of danger. 

One of the important reasons for increasing number of violations of traffic rules, especially such as drunken driving, is the weakness of existing mechanisms to bring violators to administrative responsibility. 

Since early 2017, 88 thousand administrative reports have been drawn up for committing administrative offenses covered by Article 130 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Driving in a state of alcohol, narcotic or other intoxication).  But the courts have considered only about 44 thousand cases (50%) and have fined 31 thousand people.

"Since the beginning of 2017, the total sum of fines imposed for the driving in a state of intoxication was UAH 352 million. However, in fact, only UAH 31 million or 8.7% of total sum has been collected to the state budget. And on the other side of the scale are 2317 victims of traffic accidents during this year!  Thus, the vast majority of court decisions to impose a fine are not implemented.  This, of course, encourages drivers to believe that even if the police detects and registers the violation of traffic rules, they will still very probably de-facto avoid responsibility", - noted the head of MIA.

To change the current situation, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has prepared a package of bills aimed at increasing liability for violation of traffic rules.  The Minister of Internal 

Affairs Arsen Avakov suggested the Government to consider the possibility of introducing the following legislative changes:

1.To introduce changes to Article 286 (Violation of traffic safety rules or the operation of transport vehicles by drivers) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (COA).

The MIA proposes to increase the punishment for crimes already provided for in this COA article. 

Also, it proposes to introduce a separate responsibility of the driver and severe punishment for violation of traffic rules, committed in a drunken state. The violation of traffic rules, resulting in moderate bodily harm, by the driver under the influence of alcohol should be punished by imprisonment for up to three years with the suspension of the driving privilege for a period of three to five years.

The violation of traffic rules, resulting in the death of a person or grave bodily harm, by the driver under the influence of alcohol should be punished by imprisonment for a term of seven to twelve years with the suspension of the driving privilege for a period of five to ten years.

2.  To set the maximum permitted speed of traffic in populated areas at the level of 50 km/h  (now the maximum speed limit in populated areas is 60 km/h).

This is due to the following reasons.

According to the results of studies carried out by various international organizations, including WHO, this speed is considered optimal for the safety of road users.  It was established that deceleration of the maximum permissible speed of traffic in populated areas from 60 to 50 km per hour resulted in significant reduction of the number of road accidents, including accidents with grave consequences.

Therefore, in the USA and the vast majority of European states, the maximum permissible speed of traffic in populated areas is now exactly 50 km/h. 

"I want all of us to understand that this is not a matter of limiting somebody's rights and opportunities, but a matter of our security!  I repeat that on the Ukrainian roads perish four times more people than in the ATO zone during the fighting", - stated Arsen Avakov.

3. To increase the amount of fine for certain types of administrative offenses.

In particular:

• to set a fine of UAH 3400 for exceeding the maximum permitted speed of traffic by more than 10 km/h  (now - UAH 510);

• to set a fine of UAH 3400 for leaving the site of an accident (hit-and-run) and provide for the possibility of suspension of the offender’s driving privilege for a period of up to six months (now - a fine of UAH 255);

• to set a fine of UAH 10,200 for driving a vehicle by a person who does not have the right to do so and to increase this fine to UAH 40,800 in case of committing this violation repeatedly within a year (now - a fine of UAH 510 .)

• to set a fine of UAH 20,400 for driving a vehicle by a person who previously lost his/her driving privilege and to increase this fine to UAH 40,800 in case of committing this violation repeatedly within a year (now - a fine of UAH 510).

"In fact, we propose to introduce for the last two violations of the traffic rules the same fines as for driving in a drunken state.  It is not unusual today when a vehicle is driven by a person who has never had the driving license or was disqualified, in particular, for driving under the influence of alcohol.  At the same time these people, who deliberately sit behind the wheel without the right to drive a vehicle at all, are not afraid of anything since in the worst case they will pay a fine of UAH 510.  Nothing motivates offender to commit an offense as much as the realization that he/she will not be punished for his/her misdeeds!" - stressed the head of the MIA.

4. For persons driving vehicles in the state of alcohol, narcotic or other intoxication or under the influence of medications that reduce their attention and speed of reaction, to increase the time limit for imposing administrative penalties for up to one year from the moment of detection of the offense (instead of three months now).

This amendment is necessary because now due to some reasons of objective and subjective nature (artificial delays in reviewing police reports, overloading or inadequate staffing of courts, etc.) very often such cases are considered by the court when the time limit for imposing administrative penalties has already expired.  As a result, a judicial proceeding is staying and the perpetrator, in fact, avoids responsibility for his/her misdeeds.

5. To amend article 21 (Transfer of materials about administrative offense for consideration by a public organization or a work collective) and Article 22 (Possibility of exemption from administrative liability for a minor offense) of the CAO by a provision that these articles do not apply to some offenses related to the road safety, in particular:

• driving in a drunken state;

• driving a vehicle by a person who does not have the right to do so or who previously lost his/her driving privilege.

This amendment is necessary because after a recent significant increase in the amount of fines for drunken driving, the Ukrainian courts have been increasingly using a practice of releasing a person from responsibility for this offense by transferring the materials of administrative case for consideration of a labor collective or a public organization (Article 21 of the COA) or exempting a person from liability due to the insignificance of this offense (Article 22 of the COA). 

In both cases, the person who drove the vehicle under the influence of alcohol (and it was placed on record and documented in due course) avoids liability at all without paying a fine, and legally it means that he/she did not commit this offense at all.  In the first nine months of 2017, 508 people who drove under the influence of alcohol escaped liability by articles 21 and 22 of the COA.

6. Tо take measures to implement the system of automatic photo and video recording of violations of traffic rules.

Such a system now operates in most countries of the European Union and other developed countries and their experience shows that its introduction has radically improved road safety.  For example, in Poland after the introduction of the automatic system of traffic violations recording the number of road accidents decreased by 30%.

"Despite all warnings, denial, and rejection of this system by individual politicians and members of the public, we consider the introduction of a system of photo and video recording of traffic violations as the most efficient and effective mechanism for prevention and combating these offenses!  At the state level, some significant steps have already been taken to implement the automatic recording system.  The introduction and effective functioning of this system requires the adoption of some legislative, governmental and departmental measures.  We hope for the support of the Parliament and the Government in this matter”, - commented Arsen Avakov.

7. To amend the procedure of issuing a driver's license in such a way that for the first time a person will receive a driving license valid for only two years.

If within two years period a person commits no more than two administrative offenses in the field of road safety or does not commit them at all, then he/she will receive a driver's license valid for 30 years without passing additional examinations.  Otherwise, to obtain a driving license valid for 30 years this person will have again to pass the driver’s license test.

"We will not stop there; our ministry will continue to work on the development of effective modern mechanisms to ensure road safety, prevent violations, timely and promptly detect traffic violations and bring to justice offenders.  We will interact with representatives of the public, the expert community, other executive authorities and the People's Deputies and take into account the best practices of European states, the USA, Canada and other developed countries of the world.  I ask for the support of the public and each of you for the sake of the life and safety of all of us! "- summed up the head of MIA Arsen Avakov.

Department of Communication of MIA-Ukraine

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