Changes in the rules provide for introduction of 11 new road signs and 5 sign plates. They should be placed no higher than six meters above the ground and they must be visible at a distance of 100 meters.
Chief of the Interior Ministry's Center for traffic safety and automated systems Serhiy Budnyk points out an important sign plate saying "Attention! New road signs ahead". According to him, it will help drivers to notice changes.
At the same time, human right activist Volodymyr Karavayev believes that one of the new signs may confuse drivers and cause overrun. "The sign 'Beginning of densely built-up area' will be put in settlements, entrance to which is defined by the blue sign permitting the speed of 90-110 km/h. But if a driver sees the sign 'Beginning of densely built-up area' in a settlement with the blue sign, the speed is limited to 60 km/h."
The new signs have not been placed yet on Ukrainian roads. "It is difficult to place all signs within short terms. The installation will be carried out under reconstruction, repair and construction of roads and streets. Moreover, the relevant agencies will regularly control whether new signs are placed correctly to prevent possible abuse by traffic police officers. The response to abuse will be severe. Nobody will protect and defend offenders," Budnyk says.
Under the new rules, road signs have an advantage over road marking and must be clearly visible. "It is easier to install a new sign than to change the road marking. The State traffic inspection demands to put the markings in order, and we often have serious misunderstandings with road owners. It often happens that the markings fade in the places where they are needed, but do not want to go away, where new markings are required," Budnyk says. In turn, Volodymyr Karavayev jokes that signs are a shotgun measure, as Ukraine does not have roads, consequently there is nothing to put markings on.
The road markings become brighter. Budnyk says new markings are not complicated, but drivers will have spend some time studying them anyway, as road markings now involve not two (white and yellow), but five colors - white, yellow, blue, orange and white and red.
Blue full-line defines parking places on the road. White and red markings show "zebra" crosswalks with high risk of traffic accident and crosswalks for people with poor sight. Temporary markings in the places of roadwork will be of orange color.
The roads will also have horizontal markings, doubling such signs as "zebra crosswalk", "danger", "speed limit" and "parking place". There will also special marking to inform drivers about "sleeping policeman" ahead.
Speed limit: more/less 20 km/h
As for the speed lag of 20 km/h, Budnyk says it is a violation of traffic rules, but not punishable. "Any traffic police officer can stop a car and warn the driver about overrun, but no fine is collected," he reminded.
At the same time, the official reports that the idea to cancel the lag is not under consideration and a relevant drat bill has already been worked out.
Let there be light
The new rules also envisage obligatory use of lights. In the period from October 1 to May 1, vehicles must move beyond cities, towns and villages in the daytime with daytime running lights or low beams turned on. This measure is intended to reduce the risk of accidents on out-of-city roads.
At the same time, violation of this rule (driving without daytime lights) is not punishable for moment. For traffic police to be able to fine drivers, the parliament must first introduce changes to the Administrative Code. However, in case of car accident it will be an aggravating circumstance.
As for the exterior lights, which dazzle other driver, the problem is under consideration. "We have technical equipment to register the violation. Last year we purchased 27 labs with equipment, measuring exterior lights parameters. However, it is difficult to provide full control. But we are working on it. The National plan of actions for 2013 provides for strengthening responsibility for misuse of exterior lights, installation of xenon headlamps and other lights, not provided by the vehicle structure and violating current norms and standards," Budnyk informed.
In turn, human right activist Karavayev adds that according to the Decree #534, any traffic police officer has a right to conduct technical examination of a vehicle on the road, and installed xenon lamps are a ground for punishment.
New traffic rules do not oblige drivers to use summer and winter tires, just recommend using tire corresponding to the state of road. However, the traffic inspection says it is a temporary measure. "We are holding discussions to work out common definition: whether requirements must depend on temperature or on calendar period, what types of tires to use. We are going to Europe, thus the rules must meet European norms," Budnyk said.
"In addition, it is planned to strengthen requirements for drying by vehicles carrying children. Drivers who are moving on the neighboring lane must necessarily reduce speed and, if necessary, to stop in order to avoid hitting children coming out of the bus," Budnyk informed.
As for reflecting elements/jackets, the new traffic rules do not oblige children and drivers to wear them. The norm concerning obligatory use of children's seats was also excluded. "Unfortunately, this norm has not found support. Many vehicles in Ukraine simply do not have technical possibility to install such seats. However, responsible parents find a way to provide security for their children," the official stressed.
Lawn is not a parking place
New rules prohibit parking on lawns, namely an area of land planted with grasses. Violation of this rule is punished by a fine. At the same time, no word is said about a stop on lawns.
The traffic rules also forbid installation of items on the road, impeding traffic or parking, except for situations, stipulated by the law. It means that firms, which take parts of the road for VIP parking or other, are outside the law.
"The traffic police will conduct regular inspections and respond to official complains about illegal limiters. Drivers are strongly recommended not to interfere personally, but to call relevant bodies or file a complaint," Budnyk warns.
Bypass and overtake
The new rules also allow bypassing a vehicle both on the right and left on a road with two and more lanes in same direction. But! A driver is obliged to move closer to the right side. Exceptions include backward turn, turn to the left, change of lanes. As for maneuvers on the roadside, they are prohibited. "Roadside is marked with full-line marking. Any movement on it is prohibited," Budnyk noted.
The last thing
We have not covered all the innovations introduced with the new traffic rules. Drivers can learn more on the official website of the State Traffic Inspection or from the printed edition.
It is hard to say whether the new rules will make the life of drivers easier or, on the contrary, more complicated. What we can say for sure, the new rules will make drives remember that there are traffic rules in our country.
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