Russian Duma Adopts New Drunk Driving Bill in 1st Reading

MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on Wednesday adopted in the first reading a bill to toughen responsibility for drunk driving in addition to driver’s license suspension.

In line with the draft law, drunk drivers with suspended driver’s licenses, as well as repeated offenders, will have to pay 200,000 rubles ($6,495) or their annual wage amount, or will have to do community service of up to 480 hours or compulsory labor of up to two years or serve a jail term of up to six months.

The bill was submitted by a group of deputies, including Irina Yarovaya, the head of the State Duma Security and Anticorruption Committee, who is also a member of the ruling United Russia party. According to Yarovaya, about 2,000 people die and some 18,000 are injured in drunk driving accidents in Russia annually.

The draft law was introduced following September’s incident when a drunk driver killed seven people after losing control of his car and slamming into a Moscow bus stop.

Those drivers who are caught driving drunk for the first time will have to pay a fine of 30,000 rubles ($974). Earlier, fines were lower.

If an accident involving a drunk driver kills one person, the driver would have to serve a jail term of two to seven years, and if more than one person dies in the accident, the term would be four to nine years. Currently, the minimum limit is not set.

Vyacheslav Lysakov, another United Russia deputy, said amendments have been submitted to the bill to re-introduce a legal maximum blood alcohol concentration of 0.2 mg of ethanol per milliliter of blood. Now a driver is considered drunk if any level of alcohol is found in his or her blood.


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