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.
Has Kalinak made this announcement to smoke screen his non-appearance at a parliamentary committee investigating the alledged police heavy handedness and veiled threats in connection with the journalist and the Intelligence Services scandal?
On the same note, the special parliamentary debate on the national debt has been postponed until after the hols because some MPs didn’t like the agenda.
Nice to see the basic standards of democratic governance being so openly disregarded, but then again nothing new.
Kalinak needs a CAT scan after this latest barmy idea. The reason recent motoring stats have improved is because the fines and their enforcement are a deterent. I’m a good boy and pay my taxes – do I now get a thank-you tax cut?Using a mobile when driving is petty? – my grandmother was run down and killed on a pelican crossing by some cretin using a phone – and it would be interesting to know how many of the nightly body count were too busy chatting or texting to notice the tree they managed to hit or the pedestrian they just ran over.
The milk cow comment is common the world over from disgruntled drivers who see themselves as victims irrespective of what their actions were. Use a mobile, drive to fast, park illegally or more often with no regard to other road users or pedestrians and you deserve a fine, car towed etc. Yes it’s easy pickings for the police and yes they don’t apply the law evenly but just becuase someone else gets away with it don’t make it OK for you to do it and the law, no matter how much you object, is the law. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime – simple as!
Breath testing in the morning – common the world over – too many drivers think a few hours kip and a coffee makes them safe to be behind the wheel. Don’t blame the police when figure show that many rush hour fender benders are caused by drivers over the limit. The local all night drinking holes are full every night and I’ve actually seen “wobbly” drivers get changed into their work clothes and drive off after an all night session. Yes, getting stopped is a pain but if regular stops prevent you getting rear-ended or worse by some drunk are they not worth it? I applaud effective, pro-active policing but the idea of giving away “beer” to compliant drivers is a tad strange and I agree that more effort should be made to get the real loonies off the road.
Back to my fav. subject – parking. Again its may seem very petty to the driver who believes his convenience over-rides all other considerations but when, like me, you are directly effected by selfish parking, you tend to appreciate the actions of the police. Unfortunately, here in Presov, the police have been very lapse in the past at enforcing parking regs. but with the city on the brink of bankruptcy there is a real effort to rake in the fines. A pavement next to our local Tesco has been a “free car park” for all and sundry for the last four years, yesterday the usual 30 or so cars were gone save two with wheel clamps. The really annoying thing is that there is a large free car park for Tesco customers and a Euro a day car park less than 50 metres away. It’s also interesting that majority of the cars clamped and towed are Mercs, Audis, Beamers etc. which would indicate that owning a big expensive car makes many drivers believe they are above the law or exempt from paying for the privilage of parking.
I’ve been a driver for 40 years, never had an accident or a ticket, I abide by the laws of which ever country I am in and I fully support any police action that targets those who don’t.
Wish I could say the same about my Parking tickets and accidents although of the dozen of so bumps, none were deemed by fault, four were when I was STATIONARY , but I have had only one and only speeding fine here in Slowvakia …that was 8 years ago, doing they claim 10klms on quiet country road . I think the police were more interested in viewing my Porsche given these were few and far in those days, on Slowvak village roads . Cost me circa 10 euro , wink, wink, a nods as good as a blind bat etc …..
I’ll make you one better, I was stopped on saturdaymorning at 8.00 for a breathalizer test.
If the so called police would get off their buts here and start doing some real traffic control the statistics would go mad. Just every day you can what happens on “Krimi noviny”. A television program that follows the police on their daily routine would make a program maker very very rich because there must be 50 hours of tv for every day. Afcours this will never happen because the camera might see that the police actually do nothing during the day but check wether people have their lights on during the long summerdays……
fyi: car lights have to be on all year here now
I got stopped by the police yesterday at 10.30 am, was breathalyzed and then given a free bottle of non alco beer as a reward for NOT driving after I was drinking ???