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Will the old rules for drivers return? “It’s the wrong direction”

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The penalty points will cancel after one year instead of two, and you will still be able to cancel six points every six months on paid courses. The government wants to introduce such changes, despite the fact that it has recently tightened traffic regulations. Experts are clear: the roads will become more dangerous again.

The last two years turned out to be exceptionally good in terms of improving safety on Polish roads. In 2022, for the first time in history, less than 1,900 people died in accidents. The first quarter of this year shows, however, that there has been an even greater improvement in this respect. This is mainly the effect of the recently introduced changes: significant increases in fines and penalties for speeding, the extension to two years of the period after which penalty points are canceled and giving pedestrians approaching to cross the road absolute priority.

These are fundamental changes that were supposed to make Polish roads no longer one of the most dangerous roads in the entire EU. Positive effects could be observed very quickly.

According to the preliminary data of the General Police Headquarters, in the period January-March 2023 in Poland there were 5.1 percent. fewer accidents than in the corresponding period of the previous year.

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– An even greater decrease can be seen in the indicator that matters most – the number of fatalities road accidents was less than 14 percent. (366 killed in the first quarter of this year, 424 killed in the comparable period of 2022). Less by 4 percent. were injured (4,490 in the first quarter of this year, 4,688 in the same period of 2022), according to the road safety portal brd24.pl.

Meanwhile, in the parliament unexpectedly appeared provisions that may stop the favorable trend. The new regulations, approved by the Senate on Thursday, partially restore the legal situation from before 2022. The point is to shorten the period after which penalty points are canceled from two years to one year, and to maintain the possibility of canceling points on paid courses.

– It was a year, we extended it to two and now the change provides for a reduction to a year again. This is also due to our analysis, which clearly shows that the percentage of drivers who are at risk of this is quite small. We have every reason to believe that it is professional drivers who commit offenses, and these are more related to the frequency, not necessarily to the fact that these are very serious violations of the law, than to the fact that they are actually road pirates. This seems to be a rational direction of change. This is something that will not reduce road safety, but will help those who earn their living in this way. For such a person, the lack of a driving license is simply a lack of earning opportunities, explained the Minister of Digitization in the Senate Janusz Cieszyński.

The suspended driving license – after the period for which it was suspended – will be returned automatically, you will not have to submit an application.

The Senate also did not support one of the proposed amendments – to remove from the amendment the possibility of drivers participating in paid training courses allowing to reduce six penalty points. In April, such a proposal was approved by the Parliamentary Infrastructure Committee. This means that drivers who have had a driving license for at least a year will still be able to use this solution – maximum once every six months.

On Thursday, the Senate adopted several amendments to improve the safety of passengers in taxis for the application. It’s about, among others for more precise verification of drivers.

The bill will now go to the president Andrzej Duda.

Necessary changes in labor law

– Already in April we wrote to the Minister of Infrastructure on this matter Andrzej Adamczyk. The current regulations gave a binary situation: either you comply with the traffic rules and do not catch penalty points, or you are not on the road for 2 years. There was no exception. The Ministry boasted about the improvement of safety on Polish roads at the Road Safety Congress in Krakow. They argued that the shock therapy worked, that the police officers finally got a tool in their hands so that their work was not Sisyphean. Activists have fought for this regulation for years. Now the matter will be solved by a course for a few hundred – says Adam Sobieraj, president of the Roads Mazowsza Foundation.

– Minister Cieszyński raised the argument that the current regulations hit people who are running a business in the form of transportation. But what does it matter to me that it hits them? I am interested in not having to be afraid to go on the road with my child. The amendment to the relaxation of these regulations is the wrong direction. We can reduce it to the fact that killing is allowed because someone can’t make money – he adds.

At the same time, he emphasizes that, in his opinion, it would be necessary to adapt not only the road code, but also labor law.

– Our drivers are ordered to cover the distance from Warsaw to Gdańsk in 2 hours. If one of them does not agree to this, another will take the order and will drive 200-230 km per hour to make it on time. In Germany or Sweden this would be unthinkable. Such drivers not only bring danger to themselves, but also to other road users. Nothing will change if employers do not stop giving employees almost impossible orders – emphasizes Sobieraj.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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