Traffic fines increase tenfold in Russia

The Russian State Duma has passed in the first reading a bill  which increases fines for road traffic violations tenfold. The authorities promise the extra money will be spent on improving roads and equipping them with speed cameras.

With over 30,000 people killed in road accidents in Russia last year, it is clear some measures should be taken.

A group of deputies, mostly from the United Russia party, presented a draft law to the State Duma about a year ago.

It is designed to reduce traffic accidents and toughen up penalties against road traffic violators. For ignoring a red light, for example, the fine has been increased from 100 to 1,500 roubles.

Driving in the oncoming lane – one of the most wide spread violations on Russian roads – may result in a fine of 2,500 roubles or a six-month suspension of the driver's licence. Drunk drivers could face a 5,000 roubles fine or 15-day imprisonment.

According to the new law, anyone who breaks the rules on the road will have to pay at least ten times more than the existing penalty.

Members of the United Russia party are sure bigger fines are the only way to scare irresponsible drivers and make them think twice before breaking the law.

Some car owners welcome the measures while others say it is only a step in what should be a range of actions aimed at bringing order to the roads.
Some, though, do not believe the measure will work.

Many believe the main reason for breaking road rules in Moscow is badly organised traffic: there are not enough junctions, exits from ring roads are not safe. So these are factors which lead to violations.

Meanwhile, deputies say that high technologies can help to fight corruption among traffic inspectors.

Traffic cameras exclude the necessity of bribing am army of biased and badly paid road policemen. This is where the conflicts between road police and drivers come from. We are going to equip roads with speed and other cameras. They will catch violators of traffic rules impartially, with no human factor involved. The number of road police staff thus will be reduced,” says Vladimir Vasilyev, Head of the Duma`s Security Committee.