Legislator to Strengthen the Liability for Traffic Violators
The EXPATPRO team would like to advise you of the recent updates to the regulations on liability for traffic rules violations.
The Law of Ukraine On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Strengthening of Liability for Certain Road Traffic Safety Offenses was adopted on February 16, 2021, and came into force on March 17, 2021. This law has amended the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses, the Criminal Code of Ukraine, as well as the Laws of Ukraine On Road Traffic and On the National Police.
We invite you to pay attention to the peculiarities of the recent regulations.
The first point is that the legislator has strengthened the liability for drunk driving (being impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other substances or medicines to a level that critically reduces attention and speed of reaction of the driver) and eliminated all the flaws of law that allowed the offenders to exempt from legal liability. The penalty for drunk driving for the first time within one year shall now amount to UAH 17,000 fine with the deprivation of the right to drive a vehicle for 1 year; for the second time in the same year – UAH 34,000 fine with the deprivation of the right to drive vehicle for 3 years and possible paid withdrawal of the vehicle, or administrative arrest for 10 days with the deprivation of the right to drive vehicle for 3 years and possible paid withdrawal of the vehicle; for the third time in the same year – UAH 51,000 fine with the deprivation of the right to drive vehicle for 10 years and confiscation of the vehicle or administrative arrest for 15 days with the deprivation of the right to drive vehicle for 10 years and vehicle confiscation.
Previously, the fines for the said offenses were UAH 10,200, UAH 20,400, UAH 40,800, respectively. Moreover, the new penalties for drunk driving were introduced – paid withdrawal of the vehicle, confiscation of the vehicle, and administrative arrest. Unlike vehicle confiscation, the paid withdrawal provides that the vehicle is seized, sold at the auction, and money received from realization is returned to the vehicle’s owner.
Henceforward it becomes more difficult to avoid liability for the following reasons. The term of drunk driving case consideration at the court is now 1 year instead of 3 months period that easily allowed to avoid responsibility in the past because of intentional delay in court proceedings, overloaded courts, etc. Besides, according to the new regulations, legal proceedings cannot be closed and the offender cannot be released from administrative liability for insignificance or due to the transfer of materials to the labor collective or public organization for consideration. It is crucial to point out that in case of repeated violation the new penalty does not replace the previous one, they are added up. In such a case, the whole term of deprivation of the right to operate a vehicle may exceed the maximum allowable 10-years period.
If any person being drunk and driving a vehicle causes a road accident with victims, such a person will be criminally charged. Article 286-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine has been adopted in a new edition. Now it prescribes liability in the form of imprisonment for different terms, depending on the severity of the consequences caused by the road accident. The maximum term of imprisonment is 12 years with the deprivation of the right to operate a vehicle for up to 10 years. Such a penalty is provided for offenders who caused a road accident that resulted in the death of several people.
Furthermore, the commission of the abovementioned offenses precludes the perpetrator from the opportunity to be released from liability due to effective repentance, reconciliation of the perpetrator with the victim, transfer of a person on bail, change of circumstances. Release from serving a sentence on probation, replacement of the unserved part of the sentence with a milder one, and amnesty also do not apply to drunk drivers.
The reasoning behind these strict regulations is caused by the widespread occurrence of drunk driving cases, their recurrence, the exemption of drivers from legal liability, and the significant number of victims of such offenses. In 2020 alone, approximately 130,000 drunk drivers were apprehended. More than 9,000 drivers repeated the case of drunk driving and another 5,000 of such offenses were committed for a third time, despite the fact, that such offenders have paid fines and suffered other negative consequences of such violations. Moreover, there are numerous examples of road accidents with drunk drivers involved, with dozens of casualties, and some of the drivers managed to avoid liability for the deaths of innocent victims.
Other amendments concern penalties for speeding, seatbelts non-use, driving without a license or transferring a vehicle to a person who is not entitled to operate it, or driving after being deprived of the right to operate a vehicle.
The fines for exceeding the allowed speed limit: for up to 50 km/hour is UAH 340 instead of UAH 255, for over 50 km/hour – UAH 1700 instead of UAH 510. The penalty for non-use of seat belts amounts to UAH 510, which is 10 times more than before. The incorrect installation of state license plates and dirtiness of the plates are punished with UAH 850 fine.
Please note that while driving you should always have a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration document, and insurance policy. Otherwise, you will be forced to pay a fine of UAH 425, which remained unchanged. At the same time, the legislator has added the opportunity to use all those documents and show them at the demand of police officers in electronic form, for instance, by having the “Diia” application.
For driving without a right to operate a vehicle or transferring the vehicle to a person who has no such right there is a fine of UAH 3,400. When a person that has been deprived of the right to operate a vehicle (e.g. for drunk driving) was driving again, a fine of UAH 20,400 has to be paid (previously – UAH 510), in the event of repeat offense – UAH 40,800.
The legislator has also strengthened the liability for leaving the scene of a road accident by introducing a fine of UAH 3,400, or deprivation of the right to operate a vehicle for up to 2 years, or administrative arrest for up to 15 days.
The fines for violations committed by pedestrians and cyclists were also increased, e.g. for crossing the road at the inappropriate place or against the red traffic light signal – UAH 255, for violation of traffic rules by pedestrians or cyclists, committed in a state of intoxication – UAH 680 (if repeated – UAH 850 or public service for 20-40 hours).
As to the amendments to the Law of Ukraine On Road Traffic, the rules regarding how to act when you are stopped by a police officer were introduced. In such a case the driver is obliged to stop the vehicle; keep hands in the view of a police officer and not leave the vehicle without permission; switch off the engine of the vehicle and remove the key from the ignition; submit the necessary documents for verification; put the hazard lights on; get out of the vehicle.
Finally, such a type of punishment as ‘penalty points’ has been eliminated. Previously, at the beginning of the year, every driver has been granted a certain number of points. For the specific violations of traffic rules, for example, those automatically fixed like exceeding speed limits, some of the points have been withdrawn. Once a driver had used up all the points, he/she could be forced to pay a real fine for his violations, or another type of punishment could be imposed on the driver.
It should be stressed, that foreigners and stateless persons bear the administrative and criminal responsibility for traffic rules violations in the same way as Ukrainian citizens do.
The EXPATPRO team is always ready to advise you on any issues on road safety and traffic rules.