Interior minister Robert Kalinak is playing on good PR by reducing the fines for some petty road offences like not wearing a seatbelt or using your mobile phone at the wheel, with fines to be cut from EUR 60 to EUR 50. Kalinak says it is a kind of reward for drivers, thanks to better statistics of late.
So smaller fines and a pat on the back. Great, but what about the collection of fines on Slovak roads, where as every driver knows, the police set themselves up strategically to rake in money instead of dealing with real dangers and dangerous drivers, like those who scream through pedestrian crossings to everyone’s peril.
I could state hundreds of examples, but will mention a few of late only, like on the motorway stretch from Trnava to Bratislava, where the speed goes from 100 kph to 60 then 40, in the space of a few hundred yards, with the police speed trap snuggled at the end of it, doing a good day’s business.
A classic example, just like the hundreds of badly positioned stop signs all over the country, the perfect bait for police officers to net in fines from people whose wheels did not stop turning completely, regardless of the fact that the diver can see a kilometre in each direction.
I have to witness another cash cow for the police and their car-towing ‘associates’ every day outside Eurovea shopping centre, as they jump out with a measuring tape, take a picture and pick up the last car parked on the pavement because it hasn’t left the 1m 50cm gap specified by law. This merry-go-round goes on all day, mostly to the detriment of foreigners or people from out of town who would never suspect such heinous conduct from those that serve and protect. The other cars are left untouched.
Some are even contesting that the special generous Kalinak bonus saving of EUR 10 might lead to more reckless driving. Yes, I can just see it – all those road maniacs will be having a ball, leaving their seatbelts off just for fun and calling each other, as road safety in Slovakia makes huge leaps forward, while pedestrians have to wait on a lull in the traffic just to get across the road or risk their life, as the black and white lines there are for decorative purposes only.