Ukraine might increase fines for traffic violations: Why won't it help avoid the problem?

Author : Iryna Shostak

Source : 112 Ukraine

In the near future, those Ukrainian drivers who like speeding risk paying a fine or the right to drive a car for a certain period
23:31, 28 October 2021

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The authors of the initiative call it "an act of forced response to the state of deaths and injuries in Ukraine as a result of road accidents." It would seem that to solve the problem, all means are good. But this is unlikely to help turn the tide. Rather, the deputies want to fill the treasury at the expense of citizens.

To deny the importance of dealing with the permissiveness of some drivers is foolish. Almost every day, the media are full of news about serious violations of traffic rules, which entailed tragic consequences. Legislators see the solution to the problems in tougher punishment.

So, if earlier for speeding from 20 km / h to 50 km / h in a village, the driver's wallet could become thinner by 13 USD, and for speeding more than 50 km / h - by 65 USD, then, according to the bill exceeding the speed by more than 30 km / h, it will be possible to lose 65 USD, and if by more than 50 km / h, then completely lose the right to drive a car from three months to six months.

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Why increase fines, if even cameras have not reduced the number of accidents?

Many experts do believe that the increase in fines will partially help solve the problem of road fatalities. But they do not advise taking away the rights immediately.

The founder of the public Vladyslav Antonov notes: perhaps it is not worth depriving the rights immediately, but it is better to increase the cost of fines, depending on the degree of excess. The logic is simple: when there is a fine, the driver will pay it, but if there is a threat to be left without a license, the driver will pay off so that this does not happen.

"I believe that it is possible to deprive of rights only if the speed is repeatedly exceeded for a certain period. That is, if a person has been caught in significant excess several times in a month, take his license. But if this happens once or twice a month, let him pay with a wallet," says an expert in the commentary.

Car lawyer Bogdan Glyadyk expressed a similar position.

“I believe that we need to introduce a point system when certain points will be awarded for each offense. This is a worldwide practice," the expert says.

At the same time, the expert notes: a fine for a violation should not be available. If exceeding the speed by 10-20 km / h may be accidental, and therefore a feasible fine in the form of 13 USD looks logical, then exceeding by 70 km / h should indeed be punished much more severely.

However, the growth of fines alone is not enough: first of all, it is not the traffic rules that need to be changed, but the principle of inevitability of punishment for violations committed by drivers must be implemented. After all, those who have the means and connections will not sit without a license.

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“There are drivers for whom it will not be costly to organize the return of the right to drive a car: they will simply agree to be covered,” says auto expert and instructor Oleksandr Novinsky.

What can we say, if even those who have the wind in their wallets get behind the wheel without a license. There are a lot of reports about the detention of such drivers.

By the way, the existence of this problem is confirmed by the authors of the initiative themselves in an explanatory note: "How much will Ukraine drop in the ratings of road traffic deaths if fines are introduced (and actually fined!), Say, up to 1,000 USD or 2,000 USD." At the same time, officials forget that the size of the fine does not always affect the statistics of offenses in a country where it is possible to bypass such fines and simply not pay.

It is also not yet clear how this will work with those violating drivers who do not drive their cars, because speeding fines recorded by cameras will go to the legal owner. And he may not have a driver's license at all. By the way, if the owner of the car has a license, and the driver is systematically violating, experts recommend establishing the responsible driver through the electronic cabinet of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (fines will be sent to the driver you specified). For example, if you are the owner of a car fleet, you appoint drivers and thus deprive yourself of the responsibility to "pay" for their mistakes.

And the most important question in this story: how to catch speed breakers? There are few stationary cameras that record such violations, drivers have studied their location and there are fewer violations at these points of the roads.

When automatic photo and video recording of traffic violations was introduced on June 1 of last year, over 57,000 offenses were recorded during the first day of the system's launch. A year later, the number of violations recorded decreased to 7,000 per day.

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In addition, patrolmen with radars control the speed mainly outside the boundaries of settlements. And therefore, the "riders" calmly violate themselves, not fearing to be punished. And the size of the fine does not play the first role here.

Also, according to experts, the bill increases the field of possible abuse by police officers.

"From the point of view of the law, a deputy can at least bring the death penalty for speeding. But from the point of view of efficiency and practice, I think this is an unnecessary thing that not only does not affect anything but will even stimulate abuse by employees. Police," says the lawyer Maksym Khartov.

The expert notes: if such a bill is to be adopted, then clarifications are needed as to what is considered an urban area and what is not. It is also necessary to ignore the bypass roads and large arteries of the city, which relieve the center.

At the same time, human rights activist Volodymyr Karavaev adds that violations may occur due to the fact that something is wrong with road markings or with signs.

Maybe first you need to put up the signs correctly and make road repairs?

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Exceeding the safe speed is the main cause of road traffic injuries and accounts for 34% of the total number of accidents. Such statistics are provided by the authors of the bill in an explanatory note, thereby emphasizing: no one will "stand on ceremony" with drivers, since the price is too high.

Blame - pay a fine or change to public transport for several months. This is only true if the driver is really to blame. But here's the bad luck: in Ukraine, there is no normative legal document regulating the procedure for accounting for accidents, so it is not clear how many accidents occurred due to violations of road maintenance rules, incorrect traffic patterns and other issues that do not depend on drivers.

“One of the conditions for bringing a person to justice is the presence of guilt, whether it is administrative or criminal law. saw the sign, what is his fault?" Karavaev explains in a commentary.

Clause 12.10 of the SDA clearly states: the driver cannot be held liable if road signs are installed in violation of standards. And there are many of them in Ukraine. According to the expert, challenging fines in court is problematic, since judges are often not familiar with these standards.

Let's look at this with an example. The driver should see a sign with the name of the settlement in which he enters, as well as the permitted speed on a particular section of the road, is written on a white background. But these signs are located only on the right side (and if the road has two or more lanes, the signs should be duplicated either on the left or above the road). The truck, going to the right hand of our driver, simply blocks his view and the driver enters the section of the road where the speed is limited to 50 or 70 km / h, at the speed with which he moved along the highway - 120 km / h. Here is an excess of 50 km / h - got there, lose your license.

And this is not the fault of the driver, but of the road service (it is she who installs the signs), and the responsibility of the police, who must control the road owners so that the signs are installed in accordance with the requirements of traffic rules and national standards.

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The main message of the changes is to take another step towards the implementation of the Strategy for improving road safety until 2024. They say that only through such cruel punishments can an effective result be achieved. Among other steps, the authors of the initiative mentioned photo and video recording, information, and preventive measures in schools, as well as conducting other social campaigns in order to inform the population about the risks on the roads and the need to comply with the traffic rules.

Correctly designed interchanges, work with infrastructure, in particular, with traffic lights and road signs, is no longer a priority.

For the period from January to March 2021, 335 accidents occurred due to violation of the rules for maintaining roads and streets (it must be understood that they are reluctant to enter this category of accidents, which means that the statistics do not even closely reflect their real number), as well as 248 accidents due to the fact that pedestrians cross in the wrong place.

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Administrative penalties from drivers promise to be ineffective in combating the problem of injuries on the roads when the quality of the traffic pattern on thousands of kilometers of Ukrainian highways suffers. It would be possible to resort to many other really effective steps, solving the problem as a whole, and not pointwise, but for this, you need to really work hard.

For example, to figure out why Ukraine has not yet developed and implemented a new road traffic accident registration card, which is being developed on the basis of CADAS (a pan-European road traffic accident data collection system). Thanks to her, in other countries they understand why an accident occurred on a particular site, after which they put other signs, change the markings or widen the road (make an additional lane). The resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers, which entrusts this matter to the National Police, was adopted back in 2019. But nothing has been done.

It's easier to impose fines and blame the drivers. It's more profitable for the budget, in which you need to patch holes.

Related: Bus with Ukrainians gets in car accident in Poland

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