Russia moves to impose blanket ban on drink driving

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Russia's lower house of parliament on Wednesday voted in favour of a blanket ban on drink driving after President Dmitry Medvedev said Russians could not be trusted with alcohol.

The State Duma passed in the second -- and main -- reading a Kremlin-sponsored bill introducing zero-tolerance drink-driving rules, reversing an earlier law that allowed Russian drivers minimum blood alcohol levels of up to 0.3 grams.

Of 450 deputies, 406 deputies voted in the favour of the bill.

Medvedev said last December that that law had to be banned as it encouraged serious drink driving.

"I believe we need to ban drinking at the wheel," he said in his end-of-year interview with state television.

"We are so far not ready to allow drinking and driving, even in insignificant and limited amounts because unfortunately this triggers real drinking before a person takes the wheel."

In a note accompanying the bill, lawmakers said the main purpose of the amendments was to decrease the number of traffic accidents and improve road safety.

The vote was one of three that must pass before the law is passed to the upper house and then signed into law by Medvedev. The third reading is expected on July 2.

© 2010 AFP

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