September is on the calendar, which means that drivers should already be prepared for the changes that are introduced by the law “On amending to some legislative acts of Ukraine in regard to reforming the field of vehicle parking”, which people called the “parking reform”. This document was adopted in December last year, Petro Poroshenko signed it in March ‒ and on September 27 six months expire, after which the law should come into the full force.
Its main innovations ‒ not only the policemen will deal with the cars-violators, but also the parking inspectors. And it will not matter if there is a driver next to the car or not: report on the penalty will be left on the windshield. If the car obstructs the traffic, it ‒ again, without the presence of the driver ‒ will be taken to the penalty point. And in this case, the owner of the car has to pay not only a penalty for breaking the stop rules but also a certain amount for the car stying on the penalty point. And given that parking places, especially in large cities, are disastrously lacking, it seems that the so-called “parking reform” has begun not from what it should.
It’s no secret that the traffic rules are of the highest importance for a driver. And a whole section in it is devoted to stopping and parking of cars ‒ the fifteenth section. In the paragraph 15.9, 11 places are listed where the stop is prohibited. Among them ‒ railway crossings, tram tracks, overpasses, bridges, and places under them, as well as tunnels. In addition, pedestrian crossings, to which is added 10 meters from both sides, a crossroads, public transport stops, to which is added 30 meters on both sides, a roadworks area that “grabs” another 10 meters on both sides. Also, a driver cannot stop at places, where the distance between the solid marking line, the dividing strip or the opposite edge of the carriageway and the transport that has stopped, is less than 3 meters.
The paragraph 15.10 contains 8 positions, where parking is prohibited. First of all, we are talking about all the places, where you cannot stop, as well as curbs (except the places indicated by the corresponding road signs installed with plates), closer than 50 meters from the railway crossings, outside localities in the zone of dangerous turns, where visibility is less than 100 meters, on lawns and etc. There is no mentioning of parking either in the current traffic regulations or in the current legislation, but it is unlikely that any driver wants to prove this in court, so to avoid being trapped, you should know the intricacies of the “parking reform”.
“Hello” on the windshield or its SMS version
Human rights activists note that from the end of September, there should be three regimes that will allow car owners to be brought to administrative responsibility in case of violations of parking rules. The first ‒ the classic one ‒ involves a lively conversation between the police officer and the driver-offender, who at the request of the policeman, presents the documents, and the latter, as a result, draw up a protocol on the violation.
The second mode will work automatically and will provide the fixing of violations with the help of video cameras. Information from them goes to the police, where they will draw up protocols. And the third mechanism for bringing to justice is manual photo/video. It is carried out through a special program that automatically fixes the place, time and date of the violation. But the right to carry out such a fixation has not only police, but also city parking inspectors.
At the same time, the data on the administrative violation should be entered in a special register of administrative violations in the field of road safety, and “hello” should be left for drivers on the windshield ‒ a message about the excitation or they may send SMS to the phone. A special decree on the administrative violation will be sent to the owner of the car.
Auto lawyer Vadym Volodarsky, summarizing what has been said, noted in a commentary to Opinion that this law, first of all, is about the procedure for imposing fines. “The fine will be imposed remotely and, most importantly, not on the real offender, but on the owner of the car, who violates the rules”, the human rights activist notes. “And this is the main problem because there is a decision of the Constitutional Court from December 22, 2010, which contains a legal position on the unconstitutionality of the responsibility of the one, who actually does not violate. Therefore, such fines can be appealed by filing an administrative claim in court”.
To park the car on the places for people with disabilities… is 1700 UAH
Recently I happened to visit one state institution in the capital. It is difficult to park under such circumstances. Here I was surprised ‒ the courtyard was empty, although on the road along the fence there were quite a few cars. Then I saw that absolutely all the yard was placed under the parking lot… for the disabled.
It is clear that so many people with special needs will never come there at the same time, but the leadership has resorted to an effective step, though, not entirely honest for the other drivers. Behind the building, there were parked only two cars, the rest who did not have enough space along the curb, parked in the courtyards of neighboring houses.
The fact is that the “parking reform” does not provide any additional financial responsibility ‒ it is only about introducing an effective mechanism for bringing to responsibility for offence. The amounts of fines for violation of parking rules are quite large now, but they depend on the place, where the driver left his car. In fact, there are three categories of fines: if the car is parked in a prohibited place, but there is no danger for movement and no obstacles are created, the amount of the fine is 255 UAH. If the parked car creates an obstacle and a danger to traffic, then it’s 510 UAH fine. And for parking on the place for the disabled provided from 1,020 to 1,700 UAH. Therefore, from the end of September, apparently, there will be real attempts to fill local budgets through the mechanism of collecting fines from the owners of cars-violators.
“In addition, in the case, when the driver does not pay for parking on the paid parking, the law introduces the binding of the number of fines to the parking hour cost in 20 times”, lawyer Oleh Rachuk, managing partner of the “Oleh Rachuk Law Firm”, explains to Opinion. “If the penalty is paid within 10 working days, a 50% discount will be granted”. That is, the best option will be to pay a fine in the first ten days after it is received, as it will be considered repaid if the offender pays 50% of the total amount. And if a person does not pay for it for 30 days, then the penalty will be charged proportionally to the fine. If the offender continues to ignore the need to pay a fine, it is stipulated that the police will be able to forward the decision to the executive service and demand compulsory payment.
And 10 free minutes on the paid parking
However, if the owner of the car is confident that a false message that the parking rules have been violated has appeared on the windshield, human rights activists note that the rights of the owner must be defended. Moreover, any fine in the field of road safety, including for violation of parking rules, can be appealed. And in two ways. First, to write a complaint to a higher-ranking official of the official, who made the decision to impose a fine. And, of course, in court.
“Personally I practice and advise my clients to begin the procedure of appealing exactly with a complaint to their superior”, the lawyer Stanislav Shevchenko outlines the mechanism for protecting his rights in a commentary to Opinion, explaining the advantages of this way: during the administrative appeal procedure (to the superior), the term of payment of a fine is substantially delayed even in case of loss. If the head refuses to satisfy the complaint and leaves the decision of his subordinate in force, the Code of Administrative Procedure (CAP) of Ukraine (Article 122) gives the right to appeal to the court within 3 months after receiving this refusal to annul the decision. In this case, the plaintiff will also have the right to appeal”.
The auto lawyer also recalls that when using paid parking areas, the responsibility will not come in any way, but only if the driver uses this place for more than 10 minutes. “This moment is stipulated by a new paragraph of the note to art. 152-1 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses (CUAO), namely, the third paragraph”, he notes. “That is, every driver has 10 completely legal free minutes for parking in paid parking (by analogy with +20 km to the speed limit, which does not fall under administrative responsibility, or 0.2 per mille alcohol, for which there is also no responsibility)”.
According to the human rights activist, it is a question of places, where there is paid parking, but they are not equipped with automatic entry and exit terminals, as well as automatic fixation of offences to prove the fact of committing an offense. Therefore, a policeman or a parking inspector must, according to the norms of this law, have a video record of at least 10 minutes and 1 second in length, on which the violator’s car will be fixed. If, under the conditions described, such a video recording is not available, then, in the opinion of the lawyer Stanislav Shevchenko, this will be the basis for repealing the police decree. “Even if there is a video recording while appealing the decision”, he adds, “the original video will not be submitted to the court, and a copy of it, which it is unlikely to be duly formalized, and in certain cases, it may also cast doubt on the belonging and admissibility of such evidence”.
And, most interestingly, the possibility of photo and video recording of violations of parking rules, provided by the new law, may be terminated because of the need to certify the appropriate equipment. For now, no one knows for sure how much time it will take. Therefore, now once again, they tell drivers in cities about plans to increase the number of properly equipped parking lots. In particular, in the capital, it happens in that way. First of all, we are talking about the construction of intercepting parking lots at the entrance to Kyiv, as well as discussing the issue of increasing the cost of parking in the city center. So, it’s hard to say for sure, how the coming into force of the new law would actually turn out for Ukrainian drivers.
Text by Larysa Vyshenska