The accident on Zod Bridge in Ararat Region on 06.07.2019 caused a great deal of public concern. The reason was its large scale (3 vehicles, 11 injured, 6 dead).
It was one of many accidents in the country. It is no secret that the number of accidents has increased in Armenia in recent years. According to statistics, the number of accidents in Armenia doubled in 2008-2018 and has reached 4145. Such an increase is due to several factors.
- Large number of cars – lthough the exact number of cars in Armenia is not known as the authorities do not provide this number, nevertheless, according the statistics provided by the Bureau of Motor Insurance, one can get a rough idea of how many cars there are in our country. According to the statistics a, the number of cars with APPA contract between January 1 and May 30, 2019 was 535,000, which is about 50,000 more than the indicator of the same period last year. Following the statistics, it is clear that this number continues to grow year by year. Taking into account the fact that our country is small, such a large number of cars and the constant growth of it leads to increase of accidents and traffic congestion.
- The importation of right-hand cars – According to statistics, right-hand cars cause a lot of accidents. 2015-2018 at least one accident was attributed to every seventh right-hand car, and one accident to every 12th left-hand car. The reason is that our roads are not adapted for right-hand drive. To solve this issue, the Government has developed a Law on the Prohibition of the Import of Vehicles with Right-Hand Drive.
- Infractions of Traffic Laws– Users of the “Don’t Do It” Facebook group are publishing posts about traffic infractions every day. The traffic accidents are the result of violations of these laws. Fines are set to reduce violations, and video cameras and speedometers are placed. After the Velvet Revolution, the National Assembly passed a bill amending some of the fines, and also some speedometers were removed, which led to an increase in the number of traffic accidents and public complaints, which also indicated that traffic police officers were not directly performing their duties thereby contributing to the increase in accidents. However, we must point out that even without amnesty, there have always been many infractions by drivers. One of the reasons is the relatively easy acquisition of a driver’s license, which allows a still unprepared person to drive while risking the lives of others. Ashot Aharonyan, head of the Police’s Media and Public Relations Department, posted on his Facebook page statistics showing that in January 2018, traffic police found 498 drivers not in a sober state, that number reach 591, 93 more than the same period last year. Taking this into account and to make drivers more law-abiding, the police have drafted an amendment to the Code of Administrative Offenses, which introduces a 9-point system for driver offenses. Every infraction removes points from 9, leading to the deprivation of a driver’s license, even the arrest of a driver. The law will come into force in six months.
The municipality is also trying to help solve the problem of reducing infractions. Recently Mayor Haik Marutyan proposed to reduce the speed limit in Yerevan from 60 km / h to 50 km / h, which raised a wave of heated discussions.
Except for the above mentioned circumstances, it is also important to refer to the insurance sector which covers property and personal damage caused by accidents under the APPA contract. Naturally, the increase of the number and scale of such accidents cannot have a positive impact on the activities of 6 insurance companies operating in the Republic of Armenia, which have to pay huge amounts of compensation to the affected parties. The Bureau of Car Insurers of Armenia and the Central Bank have introduced a bonus-malus system, which is the computation of insurance premiums, discounts and surcharges in the APPA sector conditioned by the insurance history of the driver. So, depending on how many accidents the driver was guilty of, the cost of the APPA contract is determined. According to the bonus-malus system, if the driver is in the highest risk group, he or she will have to pay 150% more for the contract. This, of course, has some effect on the drivers’ motivation not to have an accident, but it is not beneficial for insurance companies to sign an APPA with such a person. Taking this circumstance into account, we propose to prohibit the insurance companies to sign APPA contract with high risk group. In such cases, when the owner or driver of the car is fully responsible for the damage caused, he or she will be genuinely interested in driving the car carefully keeping the traffic rules.
Before taking the wheel, it’s important to realize that not only your safety, but also the safety of the people around you, depend on your driving.
Author: Anna Minasaryan. ©All rights are reserved
Translator: Nelli Karapetyan