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Russian PM Putin calls for greater enforcement of traffic rules

If you've ever taken a trip to Washington, D.C., you may have seen all traffic come to a complete halt and a phalanx of law enforcement personnel making sure that the road stays clear so that the sleek, black limousine of a politician or dignitary can go speeding by.

As it turns out, this phenomenon is not confined to Washington. In fact, it is actually a common occurrence in the Russian capital of Moscow. So common, in fact, that many Muscovites are becoming increasingly agitated over the practice, which they view as being symptomatic of public corruption.

According to reports, Moscow traffic is stopped nearly every day so that motorcades carrying everyone from top government officials to high-level business executives can simply bypass heavy traffic and disregard the rules of the road.

Shockingly, these motorcades can sometimes cause the roads to be closed for an hour and, because of this, they are frequently greeted with honks of disapproval by stranded Moscow motorists as they pass by.

Here, the growing discontent with the practice stems from the fact that almost 900 officials in the city have vehicles outfitted with blue lights -- the traffic signal that allows them to pass. In fact, the real number is likely much higher as activists are now naming both government officials and industry executives who routinely use the privilege even though they aren't authorized to do so.

Public outrage reached new heights in 2010 when a high-level oil executive speeding around traffic was involved in an accident that killed two women. While the executive was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, activists maintain that he had veered into the opposite lanes of traffic.

Interestingly, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced yesterday that the list of officials with these traffic privileges would be the subject of a "drastic cut" and that only a few dozen officials would be able to keep their blue lights.

Political experts are characterizing Putin's move as a largely political one given that he is facing significant popular opposition heading into the March 4 presidential election.

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

If you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket or other traffic violation, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The New York Times, "Putin to cut list of officials who can flout traffic rules" Feb. 7, 2012

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