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Dumb Laws no Longer other Countries Privilege
October 17, 2007 16:28

A new bill introduced to the State Duma recently would force drivers give up smoking while driving, otherwise they will be fined. The bill doesn’t have many chances to be passed, though in other countries smoking behind the wheel is banned.

The deputies of the Tyumen Regional Duma were the first to put this idea for consideration. They believe that a 500-ruble fine is enough to wean drivers of the bad habit. Smoking behind the wheel distracts from the road as well as talking on a cell phone, says the explanatory note to the bill. Besides, new amendments can considerably reduce the number of road accidents.

The deputies of the State Duma couldn’t conceal sarcasm. Smoking behind the wheel is prohibited and what about eating an ice-cream or an apple? Why not ban all these things simultaneously? However, the deputies from Tyumen Duma consider cigarettes the only dangerous factor for drivers.

The deputies are not going to discuss the non-smoking bill during this session, thus, it will probably be postponed till February or March.

 Nevertheless, the very idea of the bill doesn’t seem so funny. A week ago a similar ban came into force on Cyprus. As for some other European countries, they introduced smoking limitations much earlier. Chinese professional drivers, for instance, are prohibited to smoke and even yawn behind the wheel.

Eating is also among dangerous habits. This summer almost all world channels showed a video made by the British police. Martin Veens, a truck driver, was spotted scudding along the road with his knees steering. He needed his hands to eat spaghetti from a saucepan. Martin was banned from driving for twelve months.

It should be mentioned that argumentative bills are not rare guests at the State Duma. E.G., the deputies from the Astrakhan administration claimed that medical advertisements should be banned everywhere but for special medical magazines. Another group of civil servants tried to fight against commercials in TV programs lasting less than 60 minutes. These ideas outraged their colleagues, but they have to admit them quite commonsense.

In September, 2007, a new unique way to eradicate unemployment has been developed: all citizens living at the expense of the state are supposed to be engaged in social works, or they will be deprived of welfare payment. The bill could never be passed due to the Russian existent legislation on employment, which states the free will of a citizen to participate in social service programs.

 In the same period of 2006 the deputies considered a bill, which could ban advertising sexual services in the Media resources. The idea was approved by common consent, but then the deputies voted the measure down.

Sometimes bills sound like jokes. Earlier the deputies had a chance to withdraw nationality from all Russian women, who got married to foreigners; prohibit married women to abort without their husbands’ consent; limit circulation of newspapers and magazines for adults on religious and national holidays and even allow large families have more votes at elections.

Dumb laws sound funny for common people, since we don’t expect them to be accepted, but it seems that their number is growing and they can distract deputies from working on something more important, as living in Russia is still hard for many its citizens.


Olga Pletneva

Tags: Russian laws     

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