Authors of the bill: The draft law on increasing penalties for drunk driving to be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada

In the short time the draft law No.6479 providing for the increased responsibility for drunk driving and introducing some other changes to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses will be submitted for consideration to the parliamentary committees. “Over the past year tens of thousands reports were drawn up, and thousands of people died or sustained bodily injuries in accidents. […] There should be zero tolerance for drunk drivers,” emphasized Andrii Teteruk, MP of Ukraine (faction “People’s Front”), during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Draft law No.6479 has already been registered on the Verkhovna Rada website. According to Andrii Teteruk, it will be adopted before the end of this session.

The first key change is the prohibition to release a driver on bail if the penalty exceeds UAH 1,700. “Now the regulation providing for the penalty of UAH 10,200 and imprisonment for a year is not applied to everyone. Last year the court either released about 700 drivers on bail or declared such offences minor,” explained Taras Huk, expert of the NGO “Lead Office.”

The second change is the extension of the term of the case consideration twice, up to 6 months. Last year, of a list of about 100,000 cases, 7,000 drivers were not penalized due to accidental or deliberate delay in the proceedings. Besides, there will be a provision that not only the driver but also the police will be allowed to appeal against court decisions.

Often after the court decision on revoking the driving license offenders continue to drive. “The penalty for these categories of drivers will be increased 10 times and will comprise UAH 5,100,” noted Taras Huk.

Other changes under the draft law relate to cases involving public safety – bullying, disobedience to police and domestic violence. “All of them, in fact, had no chances for consideration in the courts, because their consideration had to take place during the day and in the presence of a person. The vast majority of these violations are committed at the time when the courts do not work and the judges on duty are considering criminal cases only. These rules violate the ECHR with regard to ‘fair trial and protection’,” explained Taras Huk. “The term of 1-2-3 days is unacceptable when a person can get 15 days of administrative arrest or be compelled to perform community service. These changes will lead to harmonization of Ukrainian legislation with the EU standards,” explained Yevhenii Krapivin, expert of the Expert Group “Police under control.

However, said Yevhenii Krapivin, the draft law is not a panacea for all drawbacks of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses (CAO) and solves only the most urgent issues. “We need a comprehensive systemic update of the legislation and the abolition of the CAO. Although we have the new unit – patrol police, they cannot effectively counteract the offenses using this old instrument,” he stressed.