Sunday, May 27, 2007

Macedonia imposes stricter driving rules

New driving rules are in effect in Macedonia following parliament's adoption, in late April, of a new road traffic law. According to the Interior Ministry, the legislation is in harmony with the laws of other European countries, and will help improve overall traffic safety.

"In drafting the new law, the lawmakers relied on driving experience in Slovenia, Croatia and Denmark," Interior Ministry Senior Inspector Toni Stefanovski said. "The goal is to improve traffic safety, elevate traffic culture and comply with the European laws."

One innovation is the new beginner's category, which applies to all drivers with only two-years of driving experience. Between 10pm and 6am, they will not be allowed to drive unless they have an experienced driver with them.

The allowable blood alcohol level is also lower for beginners, and they are only allowed to drive cars with a maximum of 90 horsepower.

Restrictions on night driving also apply to beginning motorcycle operators. Those without sufficient experience are prohibited from driving at night a motorcycle with more than 125 cubic cm of volume.

Demerit points have also been introduced for drivers who do not pay fines immediately after committing a driving misdemeanor. If a driver accumulates 100 demerit points within three years, he or she will be required to retake the driving test.

For example, failure to obey a traffic sign leads to a fine of 25 euros or 15 demerit points. This principle will not apply to serious traffic offences. If a driver runs a red light, there will be no increase in demerit points, but the offender will be fined 300 euros.

The new legislation also stipulates changes to driving tests. Instead of taking a standardised test at a licensed driving school, new drivers must first receive training at a driving school and then take their test before the Interior Ministry's driving commission.

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