The fine for driving drunk will be increased to one million tenge ($6,530) in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan Minister of Interior Affairs Kalmukhanbet Kasymov has made an announcement that the new Criminal Code will bring the fine for driving under the influence to 500 MCI (Monthly Calculated Index), Tengrinews reports.
Last month President Nazarbayev personally expressed concern and ordered the toughening of the penalty for drunk driving.
"The new Criminal Code qualifies driving drunk as a criminal act. Now drunk drivers will be subject to fines of up to 500 MCI (1 MCI equals to 1731 tenge (around $11)) or will have to preform up to 300 hours of community services or severe a term of up to 6 month in prison,” said Kalmukhanbet Kasymov.
According to the Minister, the fines associated with seven most common offenses - including speeding - will be increased to deal with the violations of traffic rules.
“The fines for speeding, running a red light and using cell phones while driving will be increased along with the other four offenses,” said the Minister. In accordance with Kasymov’s report, the fine for driving 10-20 kph above the permitted speed limit increases from 5 MCi ($58) to 10 MCI ($115). The current version of the law punishes driving into the opposite lane will a fine of 15 MCI ($173), while the new version will revoke the driving license for one year.”
According to Kasymov, revocation of the driving licenses will also be applied to the drives who exceed the permitted speed limit by more than 40 kph, because these violations are among those that most frequently result in accidents with severe consequences. Furthermore, the Interior Ministry suggests revocation of driving privileges up to 6 month for cases of repeated violations (third violation) of practically any traffic regulations.
Besides escalation of the fines, the Ministry of the Interior was also proposing a lifelong revocation of driving privileges of drivers repeatedly caught driving under the influence. But it remains to be seen whether this initiative will make it in into the new law.
There are a lot of concerns in the society that the escalation of the official fines will not hit the target of reducing the number and scale of traffic violations, but instead will trigger a new wave of bribe-taking among road police officers.
To address these concerns Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Serik Akhmetov instructed the Interior Minister to develop means of fighting corruption among road police officers in Kazakhstan.
Serik Akhmetov asked the Minister of the Interior: “We are concerned that the toughening of the penalties through the Administrative Code and the Criminal Procedures Code will trigger an increase in corruption among the road police. Do you have any suggestions on how to address this problem?”
The Prime Minister added that, threatened with a revocation of the driving license the drivers would be ready to pay any money to the highway patrol officers. “How is the Ministry going to control this situation? Toughening the penalties is one this, but the answering wave is another. We know perfectly well that there may be a corruption spike,” Serik Akhmetov said.
After the meeting Igor Lepekha, Head of Administrative Police, told the journalists that technologies would be used to fight corruption among police officers. The police will be relying on equipment to reduce the human factor.
“We are working to transfer the controlling functions to the equipment. The more speed cameras we have on our roads, the fewer policemen we’ll need on the streets. We will be gradually increasing the number of speed cameras. Besides, we are trying to equip as many of our patrol cars with video recorders as possible to make sure that all their actions are recorded. Besides, we are conducting a thorough screening of our forces. Around 150 people have failed to pass our screening as we have been receiving (negative) reports on them. Commanding officers of all levels, sometimes dressed in civilian clothes, are constantly monitoring the police officers. We are seriously working on this issue,” said Lepekha.