New Highway Code: Clampdown on anti-social behavior
ATHENS.The new Greek Highway Code will be presented by the Minister for Infrastructure, Christos Spirtzis, within the next few days and will include heavy penalties for anti-social behavior.
Anti-social behaviour, which very often causes serious accidents, includes the use of mobile phones, tossing cigarettes out of the car, illegal parking in front of ramps for people with special needs, driving in emergency lanes and driving lorries in the fast lane. The new Highway Code provides a gradual escalation of sentences for these violations. For a first offence a driving ban and the removal of the vehicle's licence platesfor 2 months, for the second offence, 4 months. Further offences are punished by the driver having to take the driving test again.
Slight, medium and high danger
There will be three categories of offences, slight, medium and high danger, as well as those of anti-social behavior and repeated accidents. New regulations will be included applying to bicycle lights and cycle lanes.
The Minister pointed out that for the first time income criteria will be applied in determining the level of fines. The offender’s financial situation will be taken into account and information will be retrieved from the Tax Office. Mr. Spirtzis argued that the existing system of imposing fines needs to be changed.
Traffic Police have stated that, due to the current economic situation, it is difficult for them to impose large fines of 300-500 Euros on drivers whilst people can get away with anti-social behavior by just paying 50 or 100 Euros. "The only fine in Greece that still remains is that imposed bythe municipal policefor illegal parking.”
The new Highway Code, which is going to be presented within the next few days,will be a single piece of legislation including regulations for taxis. Firstly, however, there will be a series of consultations with the car companies and intermediaries because of the storm of reactions it has caused.The legislation will also include two online platforms for licence plates and car documents, in order to gradually decrease the queues at regional transport offices by sending licence plates directly to the owner’s home.
Certificates forbody number, cubic capacity, mileage etc. from a car manufacturer or dealer will also be published electronically. The reasonbehind this is that there have been complaints about second-handand expensive cars that have a different body number from that of the manufacturer or a different engine, indicating that they may be stolen or have been imported illegally.