Corruption and Impunity Are the Main Reasons for the Increase in Traffic Accidents in Tajikistan

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An article by CABAR.asia says officials believe that speeding and failure to follow traffic rules are the main reasons for the increase in traffic accidents in Tajikistan.  But experts also attribute this to the influence of corruption. Accidents involving officials’ children are of particular concern.

Recently, the public has been concerned about the growing number of fatal road accidents in the country.  According to data from the Interior Ministry, 492 road accidents have been registered in Tajikistan over the first six months of this year, which is 10 cases more than in the same period last year.  193 people were killed in traffic accidents registered in January-June this year, 13 more than in the same period last year. The total number of injured people is 514, which is also 5 more than last year.

To solve this problem and to control compliance with traffic rules back in 2013, the Safe City project was introduced in Dushanbe, under which 855 video surveillance cameras were installed at 75 intersections and central streets of the capital.

In 2017, the Tajik Parliament adopted amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Administrative Offenses, which significantly increased penalties for failure to comply with traffic rules.

Taking into account these changes, for example, driving a vehicle in a state of alcohol intoxication, which caused the death of a person or serious harm to health by negligence, is punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to ten years with deprivation of the right to engage in certain activities for 10 years.

Also, the period of deprivation of driving license was increased from two to ten years. Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by a fine of 300 calculation indices, i.e. 19,800 somonis (1 calculation index is 68 somonis for 2023) or about 1,800 US dollars, or administrative arrest for 15 days with deprivation of the right to drive a vehicle for up to 5 years.

Liability for driving without a driver’s license has also been increased from 3 -5 to 250 calculation indices – 17,000 somonis (1,550 USD).  For driving without a driver’s license while intoxicated, the fine has been increased from 50 to 400 calculation indexes – 27,200 somonis (2,480 USD).  At the same time, in case of repeated violations, a person may be held criminally liable.

However, despite the measures taken, as the above statistics show, the number of road accidents and related deaths is increasing.

Officials say they have analyzed the causes of road accidents and identified the main reasons for the increase in road accidents.  Some of them say that their analysis showed that the main reason is increased speed (75%), failure to comply with the rules of overtaking (45%), ignorance of the most elementary rules of the road.  And on international highways, the main reason for more accidents is driver fatigue (25%).

In addition, they believe that pedestrians, who also do not follow the rules as road users, also have an impact on the increase in accidents.

Meanwhile, independent experts believe several factors contribute to the rise in fatal accidents.  According to them, the main reasons for the increase in traffic accidents are speeding, ignorance of traffic rules and failure to observe the simplest road safety rules.

They add that one of the influencing factors is also the way of obtaining a driver’s license.  They emphasize that these phenomena should not be hidden, but ways to prevent them should be sought.

Accidents involving children of officials are a cause of concern for the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Road accidents involving children of officials and prominent businessmen are another topic widely discussed among residents of the capital.

CABAR.asia notes that more than 10 fatal road accidents involving children of the country’s prominent officials and businessmen have occurred in Tajikistan over the past few years, killing several people.

Thus, the 18-year-old Komyob Faizullo, the son of the Rector of the Russian-Tajik Slavic University (RTSU) Mashrab Faizullo, has been convicted for role in a fatal traffic accident that killed the young gifted singer Nekrouz Niyozov.  He was sentenced to three years in prison. 

During his visit to the Interior Ministry on November 20, 2013, President Emomali Rahmon touched upon the issue of reckless driving by children of the country’s elite and urged to punish all traffic offenders, regardless of whose children they are.

The president stated this a month after a fatal crash involving the 16-year-old Rasoul Amonullo, the son of the then chief of the Tajik state railway company Amonullo Hukumov.  Three persons were killed and three others were seriously injured on October 9, 2013 as BMW driven by Rasoul Amonullo crashed into VAZ- 21-04.  Rasoul Amonullo was reportedly driving his brand-new BMW above the speed limit in the wee hours of the morning when he struck another vehicle.

On August 17, 2008, Bobour Azimov, the son of the then Secretary of the Security Council Amirrqul Azimov, was involved in a fatal crash.  Bobour Azimov’s Toyota-Avalon hit pedestrian near the Kokhi Borbad State Complex in Dushanbe in the evening of August 17, 2008.  The pedestrian died on the spot.  After that, Bobour Azimov went into oncoming traffic and crashed his car into another vehicle.  As a result of the collision one person was killed and five others, including one child, were injured.  On April 17, 2009, a court in Dushanbe’s Sino district sentenced Bobour Azimov to five years in prison.  The sentence followed his conviction on charge of violation of traffic regulations causing death of two or more persons (Article 212 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code).

In September 2016, the 23-year-old Faromouz Saidov, the son of the then first deputy prime minister, crashed his Toyota Camry into a public-utilities vehicle, killing one pedestrian and a fellow passenger. Police investigators opened a probe into the accident, but prosecutors later determined that Faromouz Saidov was not at blame as “there were technical problems with the car.”  

Fatalities in the accident, which occurred on the night of March 23, 2019, included the son-in-law of Saimumin Yatimov, the head of Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security (SCNS).  Eurasianet reported on March 27, 2019 that footage of the crash captured by traffic camera showed a Lexus SUV driving at high speed along Dushanbe’s central Roudaki Avenue before plowing into a lamppost.

Prague-based news website Akhbor cited unnamed sources as saying that the drivers of the vehicle were racing their friends when the collision occurred.  Two of the passengers were grievously injured, while another two, including Yatimov’s son-in-law, Saidjafar Saidov, 19, were killed on the spot.

Eurasianet has learned that the passengers of the Lexus had earlier in the evening been attending the wedding party of the younger sister of Zarifbek Davlatov, one of President Emomali Rahmon’s sons-in-law, at the Hyatt Regency Dushanbe hotel.

According to Eurasianet and Akhbor’s sources, following festivities, schoolmates of the bride decided to hold a car race through the center of the city.  The car involved in the crash belonged to Kabir Kabirov, a son of the owner of Dushanbe’s main bazaar.  Kabirov, who survived the collision, was admitted to the hospital for treatment but was later placed in jail, pending investigations.

The other injured passenger was the nephew of the then speaker of the upper house of parliament Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloyev.  

Children of Tajikistan’s political and business elite — known informally as the “golden youth” — routinely organize similar high-risk contests.  The sound of powerful cars tearing through Dushanbe’s deserted streets late at night is commonplace. 

Analysis shows that in most cases, the perpetrators of these accidents were exonerated, fined or immediately released under an amnesty.

Source: Asia Plus