Police Take Photos of Traffic Offenses
02 July 2008By Yelena ShusterA new law allowing drivers to be fined based on photographic evidence from traffic cameras came into effect Tuesday, though the system is in place in only three spots on Moscow's streets.
The cameras have been set up on Sushchyovsky Val in northern Moscow, at the intersection of the Third Ring Road and Prospekt Mira in northeastern Moscow, and at the intersection of Ulitsa Petrovka and the Garden Ring, said traffic police spokesman Maxim Galushko.
More will be added throughout the year, depending on their effectiveness, Galushko said.
Under the new law, the traffic cameras can record a violator's license plate, after which traffic police send a fine by mail within a week to the vehicle's registered owner. The driver has 30 days to pay the fine.
Tuesday also marked the end of Russia's zero-tolerance policy concerning alcohol in a driver's bloodstream. Under the new law, the maximum legal blood-alcohol level for drivers increased from zero to 0.3 grams per liter of blood.
Previously, police officers could send a seemingly drunk driver to a doctor for testing. Now, however, police are authorized to administer Breathalyzer tests to measure a driver's blood-alcohol level, albeit only with the driver's consent.
Vyacheslav Lysakov, head of the Free Choice Motorists' Movement, said the traffic cameras and Breathalyzer tests were welcome steps toward objectivity but warned that revoking the total ban on alcohol could have negative consequences. "People will think they have free reign to drink alcohol before driving because of the increased blood-alcohol level," Lysakov said. A raft of new traffic laws have come into effect this year. In January, the fine for not wearing a seat belt increased fivefold to 500 rubles, while the fine for running a red light increased sevenfold to 700 rubles.