12,000 people killed in road accidents in past half-year

Most road accidents in Russia are caused by drivers' conscious violation of the traffic rules, in particular, in drunken condition, said Russian deputy interior minister Alexander Chekalin when speaking at the All-Russian selector session in the Government House on Friday.

The session was devoted to traffic safety in the first six months of 2002 and urgent measures for cutting the accident rate.

Over the past half-year the police registered more than 72,000 road accidents that killed over 12,000 and wounded more than 84,000 people, Chekalin said.

Compared with the same period last year the number of accidents grew by 16 per cent, while the number of killed and wounded increased by 13 and 18 per cent respectively, he added.

Much violation has been made during passenger transportation, in particular, by bus drivers, the deputy minister reported.

In this connection the Interior Ministry has a number of proposals to present to the government which seek to tighten requirements for intercity and international passenger transportation on Russian roads, he pointed out.

Meanwhile the necessary interaction between the State auto inspection and judicial bodies has not been established, Chekalin said. Thus, in July the Moscow auto inspection submitted 430 cases to court. Yet in none of the cases the court disqualified the driver's license, he pointed out.

A significant number of accidents in large cities occur because some streets are not used for their purpose, while the load on major highways increases, the deputy minister believes. Thus, the police sent a letter to Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, drawing his attention to the fact that many Moscow lanes and streets are used as parking lots for commercial structures, he said.