From March 17, new fines for violation of traffic rules will begin to operate in Ukraine. The corresponding bill was primarily adopted to combat drunk driving, and the sanctions for such an offense fluctuate from 17 000 UAH (607 USD) to 51 000 UAH (1822 USD) with the confiscation of a car. In addition, thanks to changes in the legislation, the police will now completely legally be able to use the Truecams manually, and there will also be a "phantom police" - unmarked crews.
According to the police, the adoption of the bill is an important step in ensuring road safety, for which they have been working together since 2017 - after a scandalous accident in Kharkiv with the participation of 20-year-old Aliona Zaitseva. The Lexus she was driving at high speed moved on a red light, crashed into another car, flew onto the sidewalk and turned over: 5 people died on the spot, and 6 were hospitalized with injuries. Analyzes showed that at the time of the accident, narcotic substances were found in the girl's urine, although a repeated examination denied this fact.
In addition to increasing fines, the law provides for innovations aimed at the safety of the police themselves when dealing with violators: the driver is obliged to keep his hands in the policeman's field of vision (but not necessarily on the steering wheel).
The police can also use simplified and more improved procedure for examination for the state of alcoholic intoxication. In the middle of a busy highway, it is rather difficult to look for two witnesses for this, as it is now required by law. Therefore, for such an examination, it will be sufficient to record the video from a chest video camera and attach it to the protocol.
According to the lawyer Bogdan Glyadyk, given the current level of citizens' confidence in the police, such a step is fully justified.
“Among human rights defenders they know that, for example, in Kyiv, police companies sometimes even arrange competitions among themselves - who will write out more protocols per shift. Those patrolmen who have been working on the road for more than a year have good experience of interacting with drivers and know how to manipulate in communication. For example, driving a vehicle while intoxicated is subject to the same fine as for refusing to undergo an examination. Considering that there are not enough breathalyzers for all crews, and the police can turn on and off the chest cameras at their own discretion, the driver can be asked in a certain way: does he agree to wait a long time for another crew to bring a breathalyzer, or will he refuse?” says the lawyer.
What changes are coming?
Strengthening of responsibility is coming on all fronts - the size of dozens of fines is increasing and criminal punishment for an accident committed by a drunk driver is becoming more tough.
Even pedestrians who ran across the road in the wrong place will now not be able to get off with a warning, but they will have to pay for this UAH 255 (9 USD). Also, the new "penalty rates" turned out to be unmerciful to Ukrainians who get behind the wheel, having lost their driver's license: the amount of the administrative penalty for this has increased from 510 to 20 400 UAH (728 USD).
Since the bill was put forward under the auspices of the fight against drunk driving, then most of the changes to the legislation are introduced in this part. It is worth recalling that a few years ago, driving in a state of alcohol / drug intoxication wanted to be transferred to the category of criminal offenses. The corresponding law was adopted in 2019 and entered into force on July 1 last year: the Criminal Code was supplemented with a new art. 286-1. However, a few weeks before that, the MPs decided that they had gotten excited about "criminality" and adopted another law, decriminalizing the new art. 286-1.
Since then, from a legal point of view, in fact, it has been impossible to prosecute drunk driving.
This time, the parliament prepared a new version of the article, from which it follows that for such an offense driver now faces a fine and deprivation of a driver's license for a year. If during the year the police find out that the driver is driving drunk again, then the fine can grow from 17,000 to 51,000 hryvnyas with a 10-year disqualification and confiscation of the car. At the same time, instead of a fine the court may decide on an administrative arrest for 10-15 days, and those who allowed a drunk to drive their car are also brought to justice.
The law enforcers will make decisions in a different way in relation to criminal cases. It will not be possible to avoid responsibility for a drunken traffic accident either by sincere repentance, or bail, or by reconciliation of the parties, or due to "a change in the circumstances of the case."
Despite the fact that the Criminal Code already has an article under the number 286-1 (establishing punishment for drunk driving and later decriminalized), the bill proposes to once again supplement the Criminal Code with it. According to lawyers, this could cause a legal conflict. However, the Cabinet of Ministers has another six months to bring the legislation in line with the new norms.
The new version of the criminal article defines the sanctions for an accident with victims, committed by a drunk driver. Previously, alcohol and drug intoxication was considered an aggravating circumstance and was not a qualifying feature of a separate crime.
In conclusion, it is impossible not to touch on a couple of important innovations that may soon affect the field of road safety.
The changes that are being made to the law "On the National Police" allow using information from any technical devices that are in the possession of others to record traffic violations, as well as operating devices in manual mode - including TrueCam. Phantom police crews will also be engaged in fixing traffic violations, appropriate warning signs will appear on the roads: such cars do not have color schemes and identification marks.
Last year, for such purposes, the National Police received four gray Skoda crossovers, and by the end of this year they promise to purchase another 125 cars of other models for the hidden fixation of speed violations.