Lincoln Town Car Redesigned

Only a year ago, when there were fewer cars on our streets and the roads were not so terrible, the main official document that regulated the penalties for traffic violations was the Russian Civil Code.

Then, after the situation on the roads became terrible and many drivers felt themselves immune to traffic rules, the Russian government adopted a new Criminal Code, some articles of which are of particular interest to drivers.

This document, in force since Jan. 1, sets some penalties for serious traffic violations. If you don't have diplomatic immunity and you break the rules, you can be punished just like a Russian citizen -- and Russia has a special prison for foreigners.

Chapter 27 of the new Criminal Code of Russia is the one that mostly concerns drivers. Article 264 says that causing serious injury to someone else in a traffic accident can be punishable by up to two years in prison, while causing the death of someone can get you up to five years in jail. If several people die, the penalty is four to 10 years in jail. In all instances, the driver's license is taken away for at least three years.

Article 265 concerns drivers who leave the scene of an accident. If somebody was injured or killed during the accident, or if property was seriously damaged, the driver who was guilty can be punished with arrest and imprisonment. So, if you're involved in an accident, it's much better to wait for the traffic police.

Both articles also indicate that vehicles should be kept in good condition, with no defects in the transmission, brakes or lights.

Article 266 is also very interesting. It says that a person can be punished for inadequate repair of a car, road or traffic light if, as a result of the faulty work, someone was injured or killed or property was damaged.

But, still, I've never heard of a mechanic punished for a bad repair job, or someone from the city government jailed for failing to order a traffic light repaired.