Editorial: the loving cup
25.09.12 20:34 By Gazeta.ru editorial
The 29-year-old Alexander Maximov who had been drinking for two days in a row, was driving his Toyota Crown at 190 km/h when he crashed into a bus stop on Minskaya street in Moscow and killed seven people who were waiting for a bus.
According to the current legislation, Maximov could get a maximum of nine years in prison. In addition to this, he could also lose his driving license for three additional years. It is no surprise such punishment would seem too mild for any normal person.
The discussion about toughening punishment for drunk driving has been discussed earlier. Apparently, after Maximov's crime the tightening will be brought to life quicker. The topic has already been raised by representatives of the ruling party "United Russia", and the initiative has been supported by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The renewed law will not only raise fines 20-fold for drunk driving, but will also include longer prison terms.
Some officials have already suggested 15 years to life imprisonment for drunk drivers who cause traffic accidents resulting in deaths.
However, the problem is that
The laws punishing drunk drivers in Russia are tough enough, but they do not lessen the number of road accidents with drunk drivers. That is because these laws and rules usually punish the innocent and are perceived as a barrier for drivers who tend to drink and drive.
Former Russian president Medvedev, while head of state, issued a "dry law" for drivers. He even annulled the blood-alcohol content of 0.3 percent which is allowed in most developed countries. For this and even lower indicators of alcohol in blood which doctors say do not influence driver's skills or reaction, drivers in Russia are getting deprived of licenses.
In 2011 road police officers counted almost 500 000 drivers who were indicated as "drunk" by alcohol-measuring devices. 85% of them were deprived of licenses even though they were not drunk and did not pose any danger.
It seems that by simply toughening punishment rules and laws the situation cannot be changed on Russian roads.
Firstly, hundreds of thousands of drivers with minute alcohol levels in blood might get prison sentences.
Secondly, tougher rules might be used against political enemies.
On the other hand, the problem of drunk driving cannot be solved without control over people who have real drinking problems and without eradicating corruption in license issuing institutions when people pay for their licenses.
Toughening punishment for drunk drivers is necessary unless it turns out into a situation where all drivers are hostages of rules.
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