Walking is safer: recidivist drivers want to confiscate cars

Two bills were submitted to the State Duma for consideration, providing for tougher liability for traffic violations: from the introduction of a fine of 300,000 rubles to the confiscation of cars. Experts and human rights activists consider the initiative to confiscate cars controversial and “raw”. Which of the violators will have to pay more, and who risks being left without a car, Izvestia sorted it out.
New fines

Motorists who were deprived of their rights for traffic violations, and then twice caught driving a car without a driver’s license, face a fine of 50-100 thousand rubles. Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (CAO RF), submitted for consideration by the Parliament, in addition to a fine, imply compulsory work for a period of one hundred and fifty to two hundred hours. According to the text of the document, such measures will threaten motorists if their “actions do not contain a criminally punishable act.”
GIBDD TNRER interdistrict department of the traffic police for technical supervision and registration and examination work
Photo: Izvestiya / Dmitry Korotaev

For re-driving a vehicle (TS) by a driver deprived of a license, the sanctions are currently much softer. According to Part 2 of Art. 12.7 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, the violator receives a fine of 30 thousand rubles, or administrative arrest for up to fifteen days, or compulsory work for a period of one hundred to two hundred hours. The existing norms do not take into account situations when a motorist deprived of his rights constantly drives a car, the authors of the bill believe.
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“At present, there is no sign of recurrence in such acts at all. At the same time, repeated violations and public defiant disrespect for the law and disregard for the value of the life and safety of citizens today entail the same responsibility,” said Irina Yarovaya, Vice Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
Also a criminal record

In addition to administrative punishment, “disenfranchised” who repeatedly drive without a license will face criminal prosecution. According to another bill, also submitted to the State Duma, a new article will appear in the Criminal Code (Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) – 264.3 “Driving a vehicle by a person deprived of the right to drive vehicles and subjected to administrative punishment or having a criminal record.”

If a driver who has been deprived of his license and has already received an administrative penalty for driving without them, gets behind the wheel again, he will face a fine of 150-200 thousand rubles, up to 360 hours of compulsory work, forced labor for up to a year, or imprisonment for up to a year.

And if it turns out that the violator already has a criminal record under a similar article, then the court will be able to fine him 200-300 thousand rubles, sentence him to compulsory labor for up to 480 hours, forced labor for up to two years, or deprive him of liberty for the same two of the year. The authors of the document explain that liability needs to be tightened due to the fact that accident rates due to the fault of such drivers have been growing over the past five years.

“In 2021, the courts received 102,124 cases on the fact of driving vehicles by persons deprived of the right to drive. In 2020, a significant increase in such offenses was recorded: the courts considered more than 91 thousand cases, which is 25% higher than in 2019, when about 72 thousand such cases were considered,” the explanatory note to the bill says.
Confiscation as a last resort

For persistent offenders who repeatedly get behind the wheel without a license, including while intoxicated, the authors of the amendments propose to provide for the possibility of confiscation of cars.
Car evacuation to impound lot
Photo: RIA Novosti / Natalia Seliverstova

For this, the effect of Art. 104.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Confiscation of property” they want to extend to Art. 264.1, 264.2 and future Art. 264.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. According to the text of the bill, it will be possible to confiscate only “a vehicle belonging to the accused and used by him in the commission of a crime.” The explanatory note to the draft law specifies that such a sanction is envisaged as an additional measure on the basis of a guilty verdict.
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“We are talking about situations where a person deliberately, knowingly gets behind the wheel of a car, having already been repeatedly punished, realizing that he has no legal grounds for driving a vehicle, neglecting safety rules and injunctions,” emphasizes one of the authors of the amendments Irina Yarovaya.
Controversial proposals

Experts interviewed by Izvestia admit that the problem of “disenfranchised people” who repeatedly drive without a license does exist. However, they consider the legislative ways of its solution proposed by the deputies to be disputable. Most of all they complain about the possibility of confiscation of cars from such motorists.

– The bill provides for the possibility of confiscation of the car only from the owner. But what if the car, for example, was bought in marriage and legally belongs to both spouses on the right of joint ownership? – asks the lawyer of the movement “Freedom of choice” Sergei Radko.

In his opinion, drivers who were deprived of their rights, but, despite this, still got behind the wheel, will find themselves in unequal conditions, depending on whose car they drive.
Photo: Izvestiya/Alexander Polegenko

– It turns out that in such a situation, only those who, in violation of the law, will drive their own car are at risk of being left without a car. Those who will be detained while driving a car sharing, a rented car or a car owned by another owner, including a legal entity, will not face such a measure. It looks, to put it mildly, unfair,” Radko said in an interview with Izvestia.
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Anton Shaparin, vice-president of the National Automobile Union, agrees with him. According to him, the bill needs more precise wording regarding the issues of confiscation of cars.

– I think that in this form this document, despite the positive conclusion of the government and the Supreme Court, will not be approved. Most likely, amendments with clarifying wording will be prepared for the second reading, especially with regard to the use of rental cars and carsharing cars by drivers,” he stressed in an interview with Izvestia.
“This measure does not actually work there”

Attempts to confiscate cars for traffic violations in neighboring countries have actually failed, recalled Viktor Pokhmelkin, chairman of the Russian Motorists Movement. According to him, a few years ago in Belarus, such a measure was introduced for drunk drivers-recidivists.

– However, this measure does not actually work there, since car owners simply began to transfer cars to relatives and friends. Most likely, drivers in our country will do the same if the amendments on the confiscation of the car come into force, the human rights activist believes.

According to Pokhmelkin, the problem with motorists who drive a car, being deprived of their rights, is largely due to the long periods of withdrawal of driver’s licenses. People simply cannot stand 2-3 years during which they cannot drive a car.

– When the current Code of Administrative Offenses first appeared, the terms of deprivation were shorter: 3-6 months, a maximum of a year. Accordingly, there were fewer cases when the “disenfranchised” got on the steering wheel. After the legislation began to tighten, and the terms of deprivation of rights increased, such episodes began to occur more and more often, Pokhmelkin emphasized.

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