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Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Drunk Driving Convictions in Georgia on the Rise

Written by Mariam Papidze, The FINANCIAL

25/08/2013 20:00 (237 Day 07:10 minutes ago)

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The FINANCIAL -- The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia registered 32,970 offences of drunk driving in the first six months of 2013, while there were just 31,808 offences registered in 2012 over the course of the whole year. The amount of the fines reached GEL 8,361,946 this year, compared to the GEL 8,136,660 in 2012, according to data provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.

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“The reason for the difference between the two years’ statistics is that the year 2012 was election year and it was decreed for drivers therefore not to be fined very strictly,” said Ivane Dolidze, Head of the Statistics and Criminal Sociology Department at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. “Generally we have almost the same statistics every year as this one. But as we want to reduce the number of drunk driving convictions, we intend for the regulations to be tightened further still. Fines for drunk driving will be increased as well if the parliament accepts the new regulations,” he added.

Most of the offences (6,039) were recorded in March this year and the least (4,994) - in February. As for 2012, most of the offences (4,852) were recorded in December and the least (1,127) - in August.

It appears that women are more law-abiding than men as the majority of drivers fined are men, according to the data. Out of 32,970 offences, 31,144 men were fined and 862 women were fined in 2013. In the other cases the convicted drivers’ genders were not defined. Last year, 29,711 men and 759 women were fined in Georgia, according to the data.

Considering the fact that the majority of car accidents in Tbilisi are commonly caused by exceeding the speed limit and driving while drunk, the decision to install speed cameras was made, according to the Patrol Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Speed cameras have been installed in central streets and at major points of the city where the risk of exceeding the speed limit is most likely. Road signs on speed limits and warnings about speed cameras have also been installed, according to the Patrol Police.

The new speed cameras have been installed at the following points: at Kakheti highway №18, near the Samgori Metro Station - 80+15; at Kakheti highway № 39 - 80+15; on the right riverbank’s Bakradze Street - 70+15; on Agmashenebeli Alley, near the ‘New Light’ store - 80+15; on Agmashenebeli Avenue, near the graveyard - 80+15; near Gldani bridges - 70+15; on the right riverbank, near Geocell’s office - 70+15; on the right riverbank, near the 300 Aragveli memorial - 70+15; at the Vashlijvari and Nutsubidze Plato road connection - 80+15; on the left riverbank, near the Shalikashvili bridge - 70+15; at Vaja-Pshavela Avenue №36, near the Medical Institute - 60+15.

The installation of speed cameras is aimed at ensuring the safe traffic movement of both drivers and pedestrians and is focused on reducing incidences of people exceeding the speed limit. Speed limits will be increased from 60 km/hr to 70 km/hr (excluding Vazha-Pshavela Avenue), according to the Patrol Police.

Herewith, according to the acting legislation drivers are allowed to exceed the established speed limit by up to 15 km/hrs.

A vehicle that exceeds the speed limit is fixated on by radar by means of a special camera after which the relevant fine is delivered to the vehicle owner at their registered address, so the law says.

Simultaneously the owner will be informed beforehand by the Patrol Police Department regarding the fine by means of SMS. Vehicle owners will also receive notification regarding the fine by means of SMS 5 days before expiry of the payment’s deadline.

In the nearest future Patrol Police plans to install new speed cameras in other towns and on the main roads of the country as well, according to the Patrol Police.

As for the fine amount for drunk driving, it is still GEL 200, according to the current legislation. However, drivers are not pleased with the increasing fine amount and tightening regulations. “In the country, as the average salary in Georgia is so low, fines should be no more than GEL 200,” said Lasha Merabishvili, driver. “I agree that it is important that everyone obeys the rules and should not drive a car when they are drunk, however the punishment in this case is far too severe,” he added.

 

 

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