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What to Do with Other People’s “Safe City” Fines?

If earlier people did not pay much attention to the vehicle re-registration and had no idea about future changes, with the launch of the Safe City project, many car enthusiasts were faced with the problem of finding new car owners of their old vehicles.


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On September 20, the second court session was held in the case of Maxim Savelyev, a resident of Bishkek. Many years ago, he sold his Mercedes-Benz 230 by proxy and had already forgotten about it. However, with the introduction of the Safe City project in Bishkek, Savelyev began to receive “letters of happiness”, notifications of traffic violations (SDA) in his old car.  Somehow Mercedes has not been reregistered for a new owner, and Savelyev has no way to find it. Therefore, the fines are still delivered to the former owner of the car.

Since this car is still rightfully owned by Savelyev, he went to court to find a new owner. The court decided to seize the car from the defendant and satisfy the claim of Maxim Alexandrovich against the defendant based on the law on the property recovery from someone else’s adverse possession. If the defendant does not appear or does not appeal this decision within 30 days, then bailiffs will have to take measures to search for Savelyev’s car.[1]

This is one of the thousands of cases in Kyrgyzstan that indicate the emergence of a new problem since the launch of the Safe City project. There are more people like Maxim in the country day by day. Ads on the Internet are full of a search for the current owners of the cars sold but not re-registered on time. The fact is that until recently, many car owners sold their cars by issuing a new power of attorney for a certain period. It was a cheaper and faster option as opposed to registering a car at the state registration service. For example, a general power of attorney for driving a vehicle costs 700 to 1,500 KGS (10 to 22 US dollars), while the official vehicle re-registration costs 2,500–6,500 KGS (36 to 93 US dollars). [2]

If earlier people did not pay much attention to the vehicle re-registration and had no idea about future changes, with the launch of the Safe City project, many car enthusiasts were faced with the problem of finding new car owners of their old vehicles.

Car owners who once sold their cars, but for some reason did not re-register the vehicles for a new buyer, receive “letters of happiness”. Although they are not the ones to violate traffic rules, they are the ones to officially own a vehicle. Under the terms of the Safe City project, “letters of happiness” are sent to the legal owner of the car. A petrolhead who drives a car by proxy may not receive notification of fines for traffic violations recorded by the Safe City cameras. All fines and penalties will have to be paid by the official owner of the car. [3]

Ads on the Internet are full of the search for the current owners of cars sold but not re-registered on time.

Private notaries are also partly to blame for this problem. Some unscrupulous notaries forged overdue powers of attorney, extending the deadline and changing the names of new owners. In some cases, the car was resold several times under the same power of attorney. It is not surprising that the first seller is not able to find the last owner because of a possible dozen temporary vehicle owners between them.

The Safe City Project

The “Safe City” project officially launched video and photo recording of violations on February 12, 2019, in Bishkek. [4] According to the data of the Main Directorate for Road Traffic Safety of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic (GUOBDD of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), this project is aimed at reducing mortality and the number of road accidents on the roads of the Kyrgyz Republic.[5] According to the plan, the project will be implemented in two stages. As part of the first phase of the Safe City project, CCTV cameras were installed at ten intersections in Bishkek. “Safe City” comprises 110 hardware and software systems (HSS), mobile devices that record traffic violations. There are 42 of them installed in Bishkek, 48 – on the highways of Chui oblast, and 20 of them are mobile HSS.[6] The first stage of the project was implemented by the Russian company VEGA[7], and the second stage was undertaken by the Chinese company Shenzhen Sunwin Intelligent Co. Ltd. [8]

A mobile device that records traffic violations within the framework of the “Safe City”. Photo: ict.gov.kg

The cameras record seven types of traffic violations: driving to a traffic light prohibition signal, driving into an oncoming traffic lane, driving a vehicle along a roadside, sidewalk or bicycle path, on lawns, pedestrian paths, crossing the stop line to a traffic light prohibiting signal, and non-observance by a vehicle driver of the requirements of pedestrian traffic transitions, exceeding the set speed and non-compliance by the vehicle driver with the requirements of stopping and parking. [9]

Even though a preferential campaign for re-registering cars was launched from April to June 2018, the problem was not solved. In three months, more than 200 thousand cars were re-registered.[10] However, not everyone managed to reregister a car during a promotional period. GDS employees argue that even if they worked seven days a week during a grace period, they had to re-register at least 3 thousand vehicles every day, which is physically impossible. After three months of the campaign, the prices for the vehicle reregistration rose again.

Now a vehicle re-registration contains following costs:

  1. The fee for re-registration of a vehicle (1%), fully goes to the budget of the republic and ranges from 800 KGS (11 US dollars) to 3500 KGS (50 US dollars);
  2. Certificate of vehicle registration – 850 KGS (12 US dollars);
  3. State license plates – 950 KGS (13 US dollars);
  4. Computer and banking services – 300 KGS (4 US dollars).

Penalties for violation of traffic rules range from 1,000 to 17,500 KGS (14 and 250 US dollars) for individuals and from 5,000 to 55,000 KGS (71 and 780 US dollars) KGS for legal entities, while the average monthly wage for residents in Kyrgyzstan is 16, 427 KGS. [11] [12]In this regard, people get the impression that the project did not consider those for whom it was intended. The search for previously sold cars, litigation, challenging the decision of judges, lengthy disputes among people – all this describes the current situation with re-registration in the city after the launch of the project. 

The state tries to somehow ease the lives of citizens in the search for car owners. For instance, they created an electronic services portal where citizens can find the owner of the vehicle or the owner of the vehicle by proxy at the GDS.[13]

Also, given the average salary of citizens, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov signed a law to reduce fines for violating traffic rules. The size of fines was reduced from 3,000 KGS to 1,000 (from 42 to 14 US dollars).[14] There is a rational grain in this decision because the number of non-payers increased monthly. For example, in March, the number of drivers who repaid the debt was 72% of the total number of violators of traffic rules, in April – this number decreased to 66% out of total, in May – it reached 62%, in July – it fell to 45%, and in August – the number was 14%.[15]

 

What is the result?

Large-scale projects like “Safe City” are developed for a long time with consideration of all the circumstances, the financial and administrative readiness of citizens. Total problems faced by most road users right now can be proof of the project’s incompleteness. 

Perhaps extending the grace period for vehicle re-registration could solve the emerging issues. Not everyone can re-register the car for the amount that the state offers. Extending the grace period would allow everyone to re-register vehicles in the name of the current owner, thus preventing the trial of uncertain situations.

It is also necessary to open a center at the State Registration Service or the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which will assist actual owners of vehicles in search of car owners. This is very important because many drivers do not know where to seek help in such cases and where to start the search. The center at the GDS or the Ministry of Internal Affairs will greatly facilitate the lives of drivers.

It will certainly take a lot of time to fine-tune the city for this project but at least the first steps should be taken to provide minimal amenities for citizens while implementing the project.


The opinions expressed in the article do not reflect the position of the editorial board or donor.


[1] Autotrade.kg

[2] Vehicle re-registration. The government decided to make money on those who did not have time, 24.kg, https://24.kg/vlast/89646_pereoformlenie_mashin_pravitelstvo_reshilo_zarabotat_nateh_kto_neuspel/

[3] Re-registration of machines. The government decided to make money on those who did not have time, 24.kg, https://24.kg/vlast/89646_pereoformlenie_mashin_pravitelstvo_reshilo_zarabotat_nateh_kto_neuspel/

[4] The Safe City. Where video cameras are installed to record violations, 24.kg, https://24.kg/obschestvo/114794_kakie_perekrestki_podklyuchenyi_kproektu_bezopasnyiy_gorod/

[5] Safe City, General Directorate for Road Safety of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, http://www.guobdd.kg/safecity

[6] Other 19 cameras will connect to the Safe City project, https://24.kg/english/115930_Other_19_cameras_to_be_connected_to_Safe_City_project/

[7] Safe city: VEGA Concern has already appeared in several scandals, Bakyt Stamov

https://www.vb.kg/doc/373204_bezopasnyy_gorod:_koncern_vega_yje_yspel_zasvetitsia_v_riade_skandalov.html

[8] “Safe City-2”: what is known about the company, the winner of the tender, https://rus.azattyk.org/a/30171119.html

[9] Types of violations, traffic police, http://www.guobdd.kg/penalty-types

[10] Report of the State Registration Service under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic https://grs.gov.kg/ru/reports/

[11] Stat.kg, Average monthly salary in Kyrgyzstan, http://www.stat.kg/ru/opendata/category/112/

[12] The size of fines for vehicle drivers, the Main Directorate for Road Traffic Safety of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, http://www.guobdd.kg/taxeslist

[13] GDS Electronic Services Portal, https://portal.srs.kg/en/service/29c72dcb-9229-44c0-aba3-0bf984e611c7

[14]  Sooronbai Jeenbekov signed the law on reducing fines for traffic violations, Vesti.kg, https://portal.srs.kg/ru/service/29c72dcb-9229-44c0-aba3-0bf984e611c7

[15] “Safe City”: conclusions after analyzing half a million data, Kaktus.media, https://kaktus.media/doc/402745_bezopasnyy_gorod:_vyvody_posle_analiza_polymilliona_dannyh.html

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