Interview with Yury Kostin

Yury Kostin, a Vice-President of Profmedia Broadcasting Corporation, which owns Avtoradio, reporting traffic on a daily basis, joined Russia Today to comment on tougher fines for breaking traffic rules to be introduced in Russia.

Russia Today: Clearly this bill has been debated very heavily in the Russian State Duma. Your station has been following it. What kind of feedback are your listeners giving? What are they saying?

Yury Kostin: In fact, Avtoradio for years has been trying to introduce a new fashion: drive safely and we have been doing a lot of contests, on-air and off-air contests, stimulating people to follow the rules, the traffic regulations. So I think that generally, people will support it, but some people will criticize the bill because of their low income. That is the main problem. But who will be against reducing the death toll on the roads, which is terrible and outrageous in this country? I do not know of such people.

RT: How many lives are lost every year?

Y.K.: According to our partners, the State Traffic Police, the death toll is up to 35,000 people every year, which is twice as more as the USSR lost in Afghanistan. So it is terrible, it is a population of a small Russian town.

RT: Do you feel these measures will actually go anyway to making the roads safer? Are fines going to be enough to deter people?

Y.K.: Well, to some extent yes – if you take away the driving license from a person who,  generally speaking, will not be able to buy it back from the police and have to go to  court and stay away from the wheel for two years. So it is a great incentive not to cross the line, not to go on the  red light. But, you know, reckless drivers, to my mind, they were born reckless and it is more a psychological thing.

RT: Maybe it can be changed?

Y.K.: Yes. I think in Russia it will take years because it is a very brave nation in the good and bad sense of the word. So people just sometimes do not care, and this is what makes me feel not very confident that the higher fines would change the situation, but let us hope. At least if we do not do it, if we do not do anything, the situation will not change.