Romanian ruling coalition's MPs want to ease traffic sanctions just months after the Govt. increased them
The Romanian ruling coalition’s MPs want to pass several amendments to ease sanctions for reckless drivers just months after the Government increased those penalties through an emergency ordinance.
Earlier this year, the Government led by prime minister Ciuca made several amendments to the Traffic Code, introducing new sanctions and increasing several of the existing ones. The main goal of this ordinance was to reduce the number of traffic accidents and victims on Romania’s roads by 25% before 2026.
Romania is currently the country with the lowest road safety rating and the highest number of annual traffic-related fatalities in the European Union. According to Eurostat data, 85 people per 1 million inhabitants lost their lives in traffic accidents in Romania in 2020 – twice the EU average.
However, on May 17, a coalition of MPs from PSD, PNL, and UDMR in the Transport Committee voted „yes” on several proposals that, if adopted, would undo the initial proposals of the updated Traffic Code, according to Digi24.ro.
One such proposal is to drop the definition of “aggressive driving” from the Traffic Code, one of the major additions to the code, by which aggressive behavior in traffic such as unnecessary honking and flashing, brusque car movements, and verbal abuse is sanctioned through a RON 580-725 (EUR 117-147) fine and a 30-day suspension of the right to drive.
Another proposal is to allow drivers that were caught speeding and who have had their driving license temporarily suspended to continue driving under the cover of a special document.
Additionally, if these newly made amendments become official, repeat offenders of serious violations will be able to take a test to reduce the period of suspension of their license. This will allow them to get their license back faster than before. For example, a 90-day suspension period would be reduced to only 30 days.
USR leader and former transport minister Cătălin Drulă criticized the amendments voted by the ruling coalition’s MPs. "The coalition of dirty tricks at the wheel. (...) They butchered the law. They have brought back all the loopholes and tricks so all those who seriously violate the rules of traffic can get away with their driver's licenses intact. In the country with the highest number of traffic fatalities in the EU," he wrote in a Facebook post.
Drulă also criticized Minister of Internal Affairs Lucian Bode's absence from the Chamber of Deputies' meeting and asked him to attend the next meeting on May 31 to explain the Government's failure to uphold the Traffic Code.
Lucian Bode has previously made statements in support of the 2022 Traffic Code but has not said anything about the current situation.
The proposal has now left the Transport Committee, and will soon be debated in the Legal Affairs Committee, the Defence Committee, and the Industry Committee, which must also approve the amendments before the vote in the Chamber of Deputies.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / George Calin)