Rustam Minnikhanov on traffic offenders: ‘They should understand we will catch up with them’
Traffic mortality in Tatarstan has decreased twice in the last five years, but the execution of punishments for breaking traffic rules is stalled
Tatarstan’s successes in the national project Safe and Quality Roads, delayed installation of road signs and traffic barriers, poor marking, news about doing a driving test — this is not the full list of themes that were discussed by attendees of a joint meeting of the Tatarstan Cabinet of Ministers and Tatarstan Ministry of Internal Affairs on 18 December. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report about optimistic and sad statistics and whom and what for Rustam Minnikhanov, who is an honourable car racing master of sport of Russia, promised to certainly to catch up with and punish.
Good news first
The mortality on Tatarstan roads has decreased twice in the last five years, from 426 people in 2017 to 276 in 2021 (here and further, the numbers are given from January to November of a corresponding year, since the results of December haven’t yet been summed up). The joint meeting of the Tatarstan Cabinet of Ministers and Tatarstan Ministry of Internal Affairs started on 18 December with such positive information, the session was dedicated to the measures that are taken to raise traffic safety.
At the same time, the number of traffic accidents has increased compared to last year in 21 districts of the republic as a result of which people died.
More than 30 kilometres of Tatarstan roads have been equipped with traffic barriers in 2021 to prevent a traffic accident on the oncoming road (statistically, such accidents are the most tragic ones). Over 100 kilometres of roads have been equipped with electricity, 25 pedestrian crossings have been installed additional lighting and road signs.
Traffic cameras have received additional functions in 2021 — now they register a prohibited turn to the left, violations of lorries and even an unfastened belt. A system detecting vehicles that haven’t done a safety test is operating in the republic in test mode.
Digital ID cannot be falsified
It was said at the meeting that the traffic police together with the republic’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Digital Public Administration, Information Technologies and Communications is designing a unified electronic service to do a test in driving schools — a digital ID of the candidate for becoming a driver will contain all the information about the education and all attempts of taking an exam. The service will be available on the website Tatarstan State Services.
Conditions of sitting a driving exam have improved too, however, only in Kazan so far. Now questions on the computer screen can be seen only after using special glasses, while special equipment scrambles signals to rule out clues. It won’t be possible anymore to do an exam for others — there is additional identification of the citizen and his documents.
Abandoned and narrow roads without marking
“This year, a rise in the number of deaths on federal highways of the republic has been registered,” said Tatarstan Minister of Internal Affairs Artyom Khokhorin. “Collisions are the main type of traffic accidents. 31 in 45 people who died on these highways did on the oncoming lane...”
The minister paid attention to a bad tendency: road signs on dangerous road sections are installed only after a tragedy takes place there. Narrow roads are a second problem. Khokhorin put an example of the Ulyanovsk highway that has only two lanes. According to him, there is only one solution — to expand the road.
“This year, there has been registered the total or partial absence of horizontal marking on the site of one in three collisions when moving to the oncoming lane.” He also reminded the audience about another sore point. “The absence of marking confuses a driver, especially in poorly illuminated sections at night.”
According to the minister, the marking is painted with paint that cannot face any criticism and doesn’t meet requirements for brightness and retro-reflection even when it is fresh. Khokhorin specified that no more than 20% of roads with marking are painted in the republic with the thermoplastic that serves for years and is well visible. Abandoned roads are another problem.
Parents who violate traffic rules are invited to a chat for re-education
Pedestrians are involved in one in three accidents in the republic. Artyom Khokhorin singled out a problem of uncontrolled pedestrian crossings. He said that another 355 crossings need to be equipped, and the creation of road humps should be intensified.
This year, two children have died because of carelessness on Kazan roads. Another 12 children have died in traffic accidents in the republic as passengers. Half of them have lost their lives because their parents violated traffic rules and drove into the oncoming lane.
“I am offering to send information about a traffic accident to parents’ chats and spread information about parents who violate traffic rules in schools,” the minister of interior affairs made an extraordinary offer.
Executive Committee as inveterate debtor
Artyom Khokhorin talked about incredible things about the punishment for offenders. At the moment, deputies of the State Duma are developing laws allowing charging fines from minor offenders’ cards without formalities. In Tatarstan, bailiffs don’t exercise more serious rules of courts against those who seriously violated the law.
The number of offenders with big overdue fines grows in the republic. Since the beginning of the year, bailiffs have held a total of 117 people accountable for not having paid fines. While 298 inveterate offenders in fact avoided a punishment because of the expiration of the statute of limitations. More than 4,000 enforcement proceedings haven’t ended.
In some districts of the republic, Khokhorin says, agencies of executive power are those inveterate debtors.
“The system must work rigidly”
“These results are a result of the systemic job,” Rustam Minnikhanov who was at the meeting praised the accomplishments. However, he immediately switched to criticism and reminded the audience about a big number of pedestrians who died on the road. “Here it is necessary to work holistically... Including with the culture of pedestrians themselves who got used to safety a bit and aren’t careful enough, especially at night. It is necessary to work with pedestrians very seriously. One thing is infrastructure, another thing is propaganda, especially among children and teenagers. Children are sometimes good teachers for the elderly.
Also, the president reminded them of the necessity of strict control over the transportation of children, not only schoolchildren but also young athletes. “These issues must be especially controlled.” He mentioned illegal drivers who transport passengers: “ Here the order needs to be put.”
Driving schools and the examination department of the traffic police were also criticised by the president of the republic for the low quality of drivers’ training.
“I think this system must work rigidly. If something happened, it is necessary to find out who taught this driver. There are a lot of drivers who simply aren’t ready to be involved in road traffic.”
Motorbike is bad, are scooters worse?
Rustam Minnikhanov criticised bikers who “make noise, rev the engine” and create a serious danger for traffic, promised to support “educated bikers” and threatened to catch up with those who “drive like crazy on these missiles” and “can create such a situation that poses a threat to everybody”:
“They should understand that if they want to drive this way, they should go to Volzhsk, somewhere else, because we will catch up with them on our territory. We have professionals who know how to manage bikes.”
Fans of using e-scooters on the pavement bore even more than other offenders. One person has died and 16 have been injured because of them in 2021, excluding those who have been injured but haven’t turned to the traffic police but to health workers. The sad statistics that the president was presented read that more than 2,500 offenders on scooters have had to be given a warning in 2021, mainly for using the scooter while drunk, going through a red light, using the bus lane.
Rustam Minnikhanov didn’t choose his words carefully:
“These scooters... What did they come from? What for? One should go on foot or use a scooter by pushing against the ground with one leg... Why does one need a scooter if he has legs? One should run! It is unpleasant when you calmly walk on the pavement, and this crazy is speeding...”
He ended his speech by addressing leaders of municipalities and urged them to deal with road safety:
“Nobody will restore order on your territories. It is human lives, we are responsible for them with you!”