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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Looking to Curb Driving Deaths

MTThe State Duma measures would save lives, supporters insist, but critics say traffic police would simply get richer.
Motorists are likely to pay higher traffic fines and spend more time in jail for violations behind the wheel if the State Duma adopts several bills before the parliament.

The bills, drafted by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party and the Interior Ministry, would slash the number of driving deaths, supporters insist. Last year saw 34,000 people killed in 223,000 traffic accidents, according to the Interior Ministry.

Drivers' rights activists counter that the new measures would do little more than further line the pockets of traffic police, who are already viewed as corrupt.

"Five to seven times is the factor by which the bribes on the roads will grow," said Vyacheslav Lysakov, leader of the Motorists Free Choice movement.

The bills would increase fines by six to 10 times, and bump up the number of violations to 26 from 17 that are punishable by stripping drivers of their licenses. Jail sentences up to 15 days would also likely rise.

Viktor Pokhmelkin, an independent Duma deputy and champion of motorists' rights, said the amendments could be passed and signed into law by President Putin by December.

The current no-tolerance policy on drinking and driving could soon be changed to include a maximum blood-alcohol content for drivers, Interfax reported.

A bill that will soon be put to a first vote in the State Duma would establish a maximum blood-alcohol content of 0.3 grams of ethyl alcohol per liter of blood or 0.15 milligrams per liter of exhaled air.

The bill has been drafted by a working group that includes Security Committee head Vladimir Vasilyev and Vladimir Pligin, head of the Constitution and State Affairs Committee.