President of Ukraine

Driving under the influence of alcohol should result in maximum criminal liability, possibly life imprisonment – President

13 July 2020 - 19:25

Driving under the influence of alcohol should result in maximum criminal liability, possibly life imprisonment – President

During a meeting with the Cabinet of Ministers, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed the need for tougher criminal liability for drunk driving, which led to the death of people in a car accident.

The Head of State requires clear logistics of concrete and tough actions to improve the road safety situation.

The President stressed that the situation on highways remains extremely difficult. The latest accident caused by a drunk driver on July 12 near Kyiv is proof of this. As a result of the accident, four people died and another child is in critical condition.

"I want to express my condolences to the family of the victims. Please provide all necessary assistance, in particular for the treatment of the child," the President said.

According to the President, in total for the first half of 2020 almost 1.5 thousand people died on the roads.

"According to statistics, more people die in road accidents in Ukraine than in the war. This number can even be compared to any epidemic," Volodymyr Zelenskyy added.

The President noted that the current laws, decisions and strategies have not solved anything and have not radically changed the situation on the roads.

"Inaction and irresponsibility - these two words characterize the attitude of the authorities at all levels to this problem… Yesterday's terrible accident is a direct consequence of the fact that people do not realize their responsibility when driving under the influence of alcohol," the President emphasized.

According to him, road safety should become the number one priority for the President, the government, heads of regional state administrations, mayors and heads of UTCs.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded that the Ministry of Internal Affairs strongly supported the signing of Law № 720-IX (bill № 3314), according to which the responsibility for drunk driving returned from the status of criminal offenses to the Code of Administrative Offenses. There were arguments that the criminal procedure paralyzes the work, as the procedure for documenting a criminal offense is much more complicated and takes more time.

Therefore, in the President's opinion, a different approach should be found. In particular, as the current fines do not have an appropriate deterrent effect for drunk drivers, they should be increased 5-10 times (if the violation is minor). If a drunk driver causes an accident that resulted in human casualties, more severe criminal liability should be imposed.

"If drunk driving caused death, the sentence term should be extended. Probably to life imprisonment. I stand for the maximum criminalization of these crimes. Tough and for long. And with the maximum publicity ... So that no court tries to cover up for someone,” the President noted.

The Head of State noted that he expected the reports and concrete results from all officials responsible for this issue.

The President also appealed to the Prime Minister of Ukraine to prepare real proposals and form an effective action plan to improve road safety within a week.

"And finally. You and I cannot influence law enforcement bodies and courts, but this case will be under my personal control. I am sure the whole country will follow it. Nobody will understand if this person, because of whom so many people died, in some way, due to some conditions or acquaintances, is released on bail," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.