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Georgia faces new traffic rules from next year

By Messenger Staff
Monday, December 7
Georgia’s Interior Ministry is launching a new traffic security programme that envisages a range of changes intended to protect the rights of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

The Ministry has already introduced a new programme that requires relevant, future amendments in the legislation, which will reduce the number of road traffic accidents and prevent the circumstances that cause them (such as incorrect maneuvering, speeding, drunk-driving etc.).

The programme also offers improved control on public buses, the encouragement of renewing cars nationwide, the introduction of so-called non-contact patrolling through surveillance cameras planted on multiple area, the restriction of right-hand drive cars, the refining of legislation for pedestrians’ safety, the introduction of a new scoring system for traffic violations, practical driving tests in traffic rather than at currently specified sites, amongst several others.

The Ministry had to give a special explanation for a specific amendment, which concerns the introduction of a special scoring system for drivers.

The Ministry stated that each driver will be given a conditional 100 points annually, and in case of any violations, a number of points will be deducted.

If within a year a driver's points will reduce to zero, he will have to take a driving test again. The Ministry stated that the rule will prevent such a high number of traffic violations.

With regards to right-hand drive vehicles, no such cars will be officially registered in 2016.

The main reason named by the Ministry was that the import of such cars nearly amounted to 50% of total imports this year, when a permitted limit of such vehicles in any developed country must not be more than 10% of the total number of vehicles in the country.

In case of an increasing number of such cars, the national leadership would have to change the road infrastructure entirely, the Ministry said.

The innovations were planned to practically launch from March 2016.

According to the Minister, a large-scale informational campaign will also be implemented, aimed at increasing awareness in terms of the traffic security rules prior to the introduction of various types of fines and penalties for violations.

The Ministry claims that the amendments are a result of discussions with experts and several Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

It is fact that traffic movement in Georgia is often difficult, becoming tiresome and irritating as many drivers and pedestrians refrain from obeying the rules.

However, it is not only because of the drivers or pedestrians. The Government must also improve the infrastructure and provide special routes for pedestrians, as in many areas there is a serious lack of such facilities and people have to cross streets at inappropriate points in the road.

If the Government imposes control and bans the registration of right-hand drive vehicles, it might cause an increase in the demand of outdated left-hand driving vehicles, as a greater part of the Georgian population cannot afford to buy new cars. It might even contribute to environmental pollution, especially when residents of the capital have to breathe a lot of polluted air due to the prevalence of outdated cars and the lack of environmental protection work.

All in all, before implementing the changes, the Government must somehow settle the problems it is directly responsible for, then carry out a relevant campaign and only after that start introducing strict rules of the road.