Amnesty for Lightly Tippling Drivers Proposed

A bill has been submitted to the State Duma that would exonerate drivers who have lost their license or faced other penalties for violating the legal alcohol limit, equivalent to .2 grams of alcohol per liter of blood, RIA-Novosti reported Friday.

Liberal Democratic Party Deputy Yaroslav Nilov, a co-author of the amnesty proposal, said 20 percent of Moscow area drivers sanctioned for driving under the influence every year were caught with insignificant levels of alcohol in their blood.

Before Russia introduced a zero-tolerance policy under then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, the legal alcohol limit was .3 grams. By comparison, the limit is .8 grams in Britain.

Medvedev, now prime minister, told deputies on Wednesday that he isn't opposed to adjusting that number. His spokeswoman later clarified that he wasn't referring to repealing the zero-tolerance provision, but to taking into account measuring devices' margin of error.

Friday's bill was the latest attempt to overturn the current rule, which some drivers and experts have said is too strict, considering that it effectively bans drinking slightly fermented drinks like kvas or kefir before getting behind the wheel.