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Civil sector requests tightening of road traffic regulations

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 30
The civil sector of Georgia spoke about the increased number of road accidents and calls on the government to tighten road traffic regulations and increase fines.

The issue of road regulations became more active after a recent accident on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi, when a crush of three cars left a 26 year-old young woman dead and several others injured.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) launched an investigation into the case under article 276, part 5 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.

The MIA has questioned all three drivers of the cars involved, while auto-technical and forensic medical expertise is being used to reveal the person responsible for the car crash.

Eka Laliashvili, the head of the Alliance of Safe Roads of Georgia, says that road regulations in Georgia are not tough enough.

She mentioned the official statistics of 2016, according to which road accidents in Georgia in 2016 increased by 7 percent compared to 2015. In total, 6,939 road accidents were recorded throughout the country last year, with 581 deaths and 9,951 injuries.

Laliashvili believes that the government should introduce stricter regulations in cases of speeding or drunk driving.

The chair of the organization says that drivers who violate road laws six times a year, should be deprived of their license and have to take the driving exam again.

Laliashvili also suggested the authorities to introduce a contactless patrolling system, which would raise the responsibility of drivers, as even minor violations would be reported.

“The fines for speeding were reduced from 100 Gel to 50, which only encouraged the drivers to violate the law. This should be changed, and speeding should be more punishable,” she said, and added that around 200,000 fines were issued last year for speeding.

The amendments to the road regulations were submitted to the parliament last year. However, due to the October 2016 parliamentary elections, the process was delayed and it will likely be discussed at Parliament’s spring session.

The Chair of the Health Committee of the Parliament, Akaki Zoidze, supports the amendments to road regulations and says the issue will be solved soon.

“We will discuss the legislative package at the spring session and I am going to support it,” said Zoidze.

Gigi Tsereteli, a member of the parliamentary minority European Georgia, says that much work is needed to be carried out in the field.

“The situation needs to be solved as soon as possible. It is necessary,” he said.

The official data of MIA shows that not only drivers but pedestrians are also in danger. A total of 154 pedestrians died throughout Georgia in 2016, 59 of them in Tbilisi, while a further 2,159 pedestrians were injured. The number of pedestrian deaths throughout the country increased by 4 percent compared to 2015, while the number of injured increased by 8 percent in the capital.