The State Duma refused on Wednesday to make illegal usage of flashing lights, which give cars priority on the road, a criminal offense.
The proposal to criminalize illegal flashing lights, introduced by the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, only gathered 199 votes in its support, falling short of the required 226.
Abuse of flashing blue lights is already an administrative offense, punishable by fines that are pending a hike, said Viktor Pinsky, deputy head of the Duma’s legislation committee and a member of the ruling United Russia.
Flashing blue lights are often abused by senior officials, who are entitled to use them for work purposes, but often utilize them on personal trips.
President Vladimir Putin promised during his election campaign last winter to decrease the number of flashing blue lights reserved for officials nationwide from the current 1,000-plus to “several dozens”, but only slashed it to 569 in May. Many regular motorists campaign against abuse of flashing blue lights by filming alleged abusers and reporting them to traffic police.