Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 12:36 UK

Russia considers curb on car sirens used by officials

A busy road in Moscow, Russia.
The sirens are being used to bypass traffic jams

Russia's state Duma is to consider restricting the use of car sirens and lights which allow some drivers to bypass traffic rules, officials say.

Blue lights known as "migalki" are used by businessmen and state officials to move rapidly through traffic jams.

The bill, introduced by Anatoly Ivanov of the ruling United Russia party, would fine drivers who abuse the siren.

A protest in Moscow against the sirens on Tuesday was blocked by police, Russian media report.


The deputy head of the Duma's committee on security, Sergey Goncharov, told the BBC that the number of cars enjoying "privileges" on the roads should be reduced.

"The federal security service has a list of persons who need protection, and there are not that many of them. And this should be pretty much it," he said.

Motorist groups are also calling for restrictions on the number of officials allowed to use the sirens.

The "migalki" have angered many motorists, particularly in Moscow, where drivers with the sirens have recently been involved in high-profile accidents.

Two women were killed on 25 February when their car was in collision with that of Anatoly Barkov, the vice-president of Russia's oil giant Lukoil.

Mr Barkov has denied that he or his driver were at fault, the UK's Independent newspaper reported.

The motorists appears to have some backing from Moscow's mayor, Yuri Luzhkov.

Only three people in Russia should be allowed a special siren - the president, the prime minister and the patriarch of the Orthodox Church, he was quoted as saying by the Independent.

"I think a government decision will be made on this. If you look at how many cars in Europe have 'migalki', we have far more," he said.

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