Tougher Traffic Rules Effective

Tougher Traffic Rules Effective
Tougher Traffic Rules Effective

With the nationwide increase in traffic fines introduced in the latter half of the previous Iranian fiscal year, and further reinforced in the current year that ends in March 2017, the rate of traffic violations has seen a sharp decline.

“Since March 15, the normally large number of traffic violations has seen a noticeable drop and driving manners seem to have improved,” said Colonel Ahmad Karami Asad, head of executive affairs at the Traffic Police.

Over the past four months, there has been a 40%, 44%, 34% and 27% reduction respectively in reverse driving on highways, lack of vehicle inspection labels, driving without seatbelts, and turning at no-turn signals.

Exceeding the speed limit, zigzagging, overtaking on two-way roads, and overtaking from the right have also declined to a considerable extent.

Iran remains high on the list of countries with the most number of road accidents and casualties. Around 28,000 traffic deaths and 300,000 injuries/disabilities are recorded annually.

Iran’s Traffic Police has been taking measures to help prevent the high rate of traffic accidents, casualties, and violations by increasing traffic fines and installing new surveillance cameras on urban and intercity roads.

Police Chief General Taghi Mehri had announced that stiffer traffic penalties would be enforced as of March 15.

The new fines saw an increase by 20%-100% in 41 different categories of traffic violations. The ceiling on traffic penalties was also raised from 2 million rials ($60) to 4 million ($120).

Some of these categories include running the red light, illegal overtaking on two-way roads, going over the speed limit, stunts such as zigzagging and driving in reverse on highways, talking on the phone while driving, entering a no-entry street, and unauthorized entry in special traffic zones.

Traffic violations including speeding and running the red light, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol are known as ‘lethal’ or ‘life-threatening’ and impose the highest penalty to the tune of  2 and 4 million rials ($60 and $120) respectively.

  Point System

However, the police remain unanimous that the point system introduced in the 2011 traffic law as a deterrent for reckless driving has been far more effective than imposing heavy fines on traffic offences reports ILNA.

Under the system, each traffic offense invites a number of negative points. For instance, driving under the influence of alcohol and at dangerous speed imposes 10 penalty points each.

If the total points on a person’s record equal or exceed 30, the court can suspend the driver’s license for three months and if a driver gets more than 25 negative points the second time, the license is suspended for six months.

“The initiative is seen to have an impact since drivers are ready to pay double the cash penalty but not prepared to have their licenses suspended,” says Colonel Hassan Abedi, a senior traffic police official.

The system is particularly effective because some of the rich, who normally own the majority of new and fast vehicles, do not mind paying heavy fines to zoom around as they please.

Increases in fines and driver license withdrawal have proved to effectively reduce road accidents in many countries, while a growing body of research suggests that criminalizing several road behaviors will be largely effective on the numbers of drivers involved in fatal collisions.

Some experts and observers are of the strong opinion that highly reckless drivers who endanger the lives of others must never be allowed behind the wheel and when found guilty of high road offense should have their driving license cancelled permanently.