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Road Wars: Drivers Versus Pedestrians
November 29, 2006 17:46

Russian drivers do not show much respect to pedestrians – this fact is known to both those sitting in a car and those trying not to get under the wheels. The tradition to stop a car and let people cross the road has never been common practice in Russia. This is why foreign travellers may sometimes feel confused when they are about to be hit by a car and hear the driver shout swearing.

According to the Administrative code if a driver hits a pedestrian and the latter gets inconsiderable injuries, the accident can be settled by fining the driver and depriving him of driving licence. If a pedestrian gets more severe injuries, fractures, for example, the driver will have to fall under the Criminal Code and the case is likely to become very serious, especially if the accident took place on a cross-walk. In this case the driver will be sentenced to two years of imprisonment or 3-6 months of arrest plus depriving of the right to drive for the period of 3-6 months. The death of a pedestrian will cost the driver 5 years of imprisonment and 3 years of being deprived of driving licence afterwards.

All of the mentioned punishments can be applied to a driver only if he/she is guilty in the accident. However, even if the accident is totally the pedestrian’s fault, the driver will be penalized anyway. To summarize the point it is enough to say that whose ever fault it is a driver is to blame, even if an accident took place when a pedestrian was trying to cross the road in a not appropriate place. It seems that the law is on pedestrians side and all drivers can do is to carefully watch pedestrians` behaviour.

Nowadays the situation on Russian roads often reminds military times: the collisions of drivers and pedestrians occur every day on almost every busy road in cities. Most frequently the accidents happen on cross-walks: first pedestrians stay at the crossing waiting when the car drivers at last stop and give them way. Later, when the number of waiting pedestrians can for sure be called a “crowd” one driver will may be decide to let the people cross the road.

In another case a pedestrian or, which is even worse, a number of pedestrians running out of patience start to cross the road regardless of cars approaching them. When the weather is nasty and pedestrians try to escape from rain, wind, and snow and hide their faces behind collars of coats, this narrows their vision and the people can underestimate the closeness of a car or even not notice it at all. Here is a direct reason for an accident.

There are no captives in the war of pedestrians and drivers, but there are road accidents, injuries and deaths. According to some statistics, 44.3% of drivers and 12.1% of pedestrians break the road rules daily; besides, drivers are guilty of approximately 70% of road accidents. The road code prescribes drivers to give way to pedestrians standing on cross-walks; nevertheless, it seems that in Russia the drivers have the upper hand. Although the laws are perhaps far from being perfect, only mutual respect and the feeling of responsibility can help stop the road wars in Russia.


Lavrentyeva Natalya


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