Road workers to pay fines for low quality of roads

Road workers to pay fines for low quality of roads
State Duma supported introduction of fines for the road building organizations

The State Duma Committee on state construction recommended approving in the first reading a bill on strengthen the punishment for the road workers. Sanctions will be increased to 100 thousands rubles for officials and to 300 thousands rubles for legal persons, because of whom holes and hollows were not covered over in time.⁠

If the roadbed’s damages caused a road accident with victims – the responsible company risks to pay a fine of 500 thousands rubles. However, as experts say, it would be very difficult to prove connection between inaction of the contractor and the accident.

The bill, which was considered at the State Duma Committee on state construction was developed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and introduced in parliament by the Government of the Russian Federation. The document includes several innovations. According to the operating regulations, a contractor, which provides services to the road and ignores the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate’s (SRTSI) order to cover over a hole or any damage on the road could be fined only small sum – up to 2 thousands rubles for officials and up to 20 thousands rubles for legal persons. At the same time, the general formulation is used - art. 19.5 of the Code on Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation «failure to comply legal demands» of the body or the official, who carrying out state control. Now, the Ministry of Internal Affairs wants to increase the sanction for the road workers – 30-50 thousands rubles for officials (up to 100 thousands rubles for a second violation), 100-200 thousands rubles for legal persons (up to 300 thousands rubles for a second violation).

Art. 12.34 of the Code on Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation is also being changed. In case, when during construction, reconstruction or reparation of a road or a railway-crossing, road traffic safety requirements are being violated or measures aimed at timelyroad traffic interference elimination are not arranged, maximum fine for the responsible official will be increased from 3 thousand rubles to 30 thousand rubles. If a road accident happens because of the mentioned violations and a driver’s health is harmed – the official could be fined 100 thousands rubles, while legal persons – 500 thousands rubles (operating edition of art. 12.34 of the Russian Code on Administrative Offences does not mention anything concerning such cases).

It should be reminded that the introduction of such harsh fines for low-quality road repair was provided by the plan for fight against accident rate, which the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved in August 2015. In 2016 the topic of road repair was brought up during the hotline with Vladimir Putin – Omsk citizen complained about bad quality of roads in the city. According to the MIA, while in 2013 contractors received 298 thousands improvement notices for low quality of road repair, in 2014 – there were 313 such notices. Without high fines, the SRTSI inspectors can’t put into practice the administrative regulations for supervision of roads applied since 2013, as it is written in the explanatory note to the bill.

Kommersant has already written about these modifications. “Strict responsibility will only do good,” – said the first deputy head of the state-financed institution Automobile Roads (contains outgoing and ring highways of Moscow) Rais Chiglikov.  The head of the Community Council of the Russian Ministry of Transport Mikhail Blinkin mentioned that the issue of the contractors’ responsibility will be appropriate only when all money issues are resolved:

“Financial standing of many organization is so, that there is no money even on diagnostics, they just patch holes with the patches, which fall off after a while.”

The lawyer of a social movement Svoboda Vybora (Freedom of Choice) Sergey Radko told Kommersant that this law is “very necessary” – “Every bureaucrat would be afraid of high fines”. At the same time he mentioned that it would be very difficult to prove that the accident is connected exactly with holes or chatter marks on the road, which were to be liquidated by the road workers. According to Radko, courts usually refer to 10.1 of the Highway Code in which it is written that driver should choose movement speed, considering “road and weather conditions”.

“Theoretically, it is possible to perform an expert examination, defining a cause-and-effect link between the hole and driving out on the oncoming traffic lane, but by far there are no methods for such expertise. Moreover, sometimes holes and chatter mark are being patched right after the accident and it impossible to prove anything,” – said Sergey Radko. He mentioned as an example a situation when driver bumps into poorly designated or placed on the road barriers in the dark (such situation also goes under art. 12.34 of the Russian Code on Administrative Offences) – actually it is a guilt of road workers, but officially – of driver, who did not see the obstruction.

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