Multiple Traffic Laws Take Effect across Country

ASTANA – Drivers on Kazakhstan’s roadways began abiding by new regulations Jan. 7, with major differences from the previous laws adopted in 1997.

imageThe new laws, approved Nov.13, include changes in the requirements for headlights, children’s seats, mandatory technical inspections and speed limits.

Driver’s lights on all moving vehicles must be turned on in the daytime in order to be easily seen. Lower-beam lights were previously required during the day exclusively outside settlements, but now need to be on permanently.

Parking will also become an issue as the new rules clearly state that parking is banned “on the roads and streets of settlements, except in designated areas designated by appropriate traffic signs and signposts.” Previously it was possible to park wherever it was not forbidden, but now it is forbidden wherever is not allowed. In the conditions where few designated parking locations along the roads have been established, the new requirement has caused quite a stir and is likely to be reviewed again.

Following the amendments to the Law “On Road Traffic,” owners of new cars need not have mandatory technical inspections during the first four years (including year of issue) if the car is not used for business purposes.

If the car is older than four years, mandatory inspection must be passed annually and “in the case of an accident with the occurrence of faults, in which operation of the vehicle is forbidden.” Thus, after an accident the previous inspection becomes invalid and the inspector should direct drivers for a repeat inspection.

Traffic speed, except on motorways and roads with a dividing strip, is set at 100 km/h (formerly 110 km/h). Driving in cities still should not be faster than 60 km/h, unless an even slower speed is set by the road signs.

Before the new regulations, children under 12 could not be transported in the passenger seat of the car without a special children’s seat, but the ban is now imposed on the entire interior of the vehicle. The law states “it is prohibited to transport children under 12 years in the absence of a special children’s seat or other means to fasten a child with a seatbelt.” This new requirement has also caused a considerable public debate as the driving community found itself surprised and unprepared for it. Yet again, the public debates in early January, and the scramble to buy the suddenly more expensive car seats of which there is a clear lack, indicate that there might be some further amendments to this regulation.

Under the new rules, drivers and passengers are not allowed to leave a vehicle stopped by a police officer without the permission of the inspector.

Drivers are also “prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages, narcotic or psychotropic substances after a traffic accident or after the vehicle was stopped at the request of law enforcement officers.” The explanation for this change is simple: drunk drivers stopped by the police often resorted to trickery, shutting off the engine immediately and reaching for a drink, thus claiming to becoming intoxicated after being stopped.

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