How Has Russia’s Zero Tolerance Drunk-Driving Law Changed?
According to news sources, as of last month, motorists in Russia will be allowed to have a small drink before taking the wheel. Previously, even one drink was a serious infraction of the law. This alteration is surprising, especially considering that Russia has one of world’s worst driving safety records. According to government figures, more than 33,000 Russians died in traffic accidents in 2007, and drunken driving caused at least 15,000 road accidents.
A spokesman for the State Traffic Inspectorate said:
“The maximum blood-alcohol level is now raised from zero to 0.3 grams per liter of blood to move in line with international standards.”
How are Russians reacting to this alteration in the Zero Tolerance Drunk-Driving Law?
The issue has divided Russian motorists. Critics claim the change in the Zero Tolerance Drunk-Driving Law not only condones drunk driving, but will also lead to even more road fatalities. Supporters of the change, notably the Interior Ministry’s Road Safety Department, claim that it will bring Russia’s traffic laws in line with what is accepted in many parts of the world. (This is assuming that there will be any Russians left after this new law takes it toll on Russian highways.)
What are some of the other repercussions that can be expected from the changes in Russia’s Zero Tolerance Drunk-Driving Law?
Some critics argue that the new law will only make the Russian traffic police more corrupt. They are often accused of taking bribes to let off drivers who have been drinking. Now more opportunities will arise because the law places even more power in officer's hands.
Who knows what the Russian government was thinking when they lifted the ban on drinking and driving? Perhaps those in charge had a bit too much to drink as well?
I don’t know about you, but if I ever find myself in Russia, I will try my best to take the train.