New Fines Arbitrary, Expensive

Recent changes in the Civil Code affect the amount of money motorists must pay for traffic violations. But I was a bit surprised upon seeing the changes. The system, which will go into effect May 8, in many cases does not specify the exact fine for many violations.

For example, it says the penalty for a traffic light violation can range from 83,000 rubles to 250,000 rubles. It seems to me that the GAI officer will make his decision on how much you have to pay based on his own financial situation, not on how egregiously you violated the rules.

The most costly violation of the traffic rules is driving under the influence of alcohol. If you're under the influence, you pay 668,000 rubles if you have a driving licence and more than 1 million rubles if you do not. Your name will also be put into the traffic police computer, and if you are caught another time during the next year you'll pay 1.3 million rubles and lose your driving licence for three years.

The penalty for violating the speed limit is now calculated based on the speed you were driving when caught. If you're over by 20 to 30 kilometers per hour, it'll cost 83,490 rubles. Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 kilometers per hour will net you a fine of 250,000 rubles.

The average price for other violations is 83,490 rubles. The way of paying the fine is still the same: your driver's license is suspended until you pay the fine at Sberbank and show the receipt to the traffic police. But after May 8, the other system of paying the GAI office an on-the-spot fine, previously 50,000 rubles, will be hiked to 100,000 rubles.