Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Russia: Stricter Punishment for Drunk Driving, Speeding

(Dec. 31, 2014) On December 25, 2014, the Federation Council of the Russian Federation (the upper chamber of the legislature) approved a law previously passed by the Russian State Duma that makes driving a car while intoxicated a criminal offense punishable by a fine equal to US$10,000 (equivalency as of the time of the passage of the legislation), corrective labor, or imprisonment for up to two years. This provision will apply to drivers caught driving drunk twice during a one-year period or who refuse to undergo a medical evaluation upon being apprehended. (Bill No. 186587-6 (Dec. 25, 2014), Russian legislative database (in Russian).)

The new law also increases the mandatory term of imprisonment if a drunk driver commits a traffic accident that results in the deaths of people. If one person is killed, the offender’s term of imprisonment will be between two and seven years; if two or more people died, it will be between four and nine years. According to the law, a new provision will be added to the Criminal Code of Russia imposing a penalty of up to six months of imprisonment for repeat (twice in a two-year period) driving of a motor vehicle by a person whose driving license was terminated because of a previous drunk driving incident. (Id.) The law will enter into force on July 1, 2015. (Id.)

New Rules for Administrative Infractions of Traffic Rules

One week before the adoption of the law, new rules related to collecting fines for traffic violations were introduced in the Code of Administrative Violations. (Resolution of the RF Federation Council, No. 617-SF (Dec. 17, 2014), Federation Council website (in Russian).) Under the revised Code, car drivers fined for minor traffic violations are able to pay one-half of the fine if they accept guilt and pay the fine voluntarily within the first 20 days after the ticket was issued. The Code also gives traffic violators 60 days to pay fines. The new rules will not apply to serious violators; 100% of fine must be paid for violations such as speeding, drunk driving, running a red light, or driving a car without a correct registration. As stated by the legislature’s Constitutional Legislation Committee chairman, the revised Code aims at better fine collection and creating a mechanism for voluntary payment of fines by individuals. The chairman added that similar norms have been recommended for the payment of local fines for the violation of parking rules. (Council of Federation Approved the Law on Fifty Percent Fine Discount, NEWSRU.COM (Dec. 17, 2014) (in Russian).)

Another traffic-related amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations now under legislators’ consideration is the proposal of the Russian Ministry of Interior (police) to impose punishment for speeding more than 10 kilometers per hour (6.5 miles per hour) above the speed limit. In September 2013, the punishment threshold was increased to 20 kilometers per hour over the speed limit, resulting in deliberate violation of the speed limit by the drivers. According to the World Health Organization, Russia has 25.2 traffic deaths per 100,000 of population. Considering the relatively low level of car ownership in Russia, this is about six times higher than the traffic death rate in the European Union. (Police Propose to Lower the Threshold for Speeding Fines, NEWSRU.COM (Dec. 2, 2014) (in Russian).)