Parliament should inquire into the state of road safety in the country

The problem of frequent road accidents has remained uninvestigated by the Parliament for years. Despite a range of legislative amendments, the Parliament is not studying the shortcomings within the enforcement of laws adopted. We call on the Parliament to inquire into the road safety situation in the country, study the causes of the problem and exercise control over the activities of the executive authorities in this regard.

The tragedy that occurred on the Shatili Road on 23 August 2020 leaving 17 people dead is another confirmation of the alarming road safety situation in the country. According to the official data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the number of deaths due to road accidents in the first half of 2020 amounted to 149, in 2019 this figure was 481, and in 2018, it was 459. Georgia tops the list of the countries in Europe in terms of deaths due to road accidents.

The Parliament annually amends the “Law of Georgia on Traffic,” “the Law on Roads,” the Code of Administrative Offences and other legislative acts aiming to ensure road safety. Nevertheless, official statistics provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs show that the number of causalities due to road accidents is increasing from year to year.

Against this background, the Parliament of Georgia does not utilize its supervisory authority and does not explore the state of enforcement of the legislation - it does not study the existing deficiencies in the legislative norms or their enforcement; nor does it request a report from the executive authorities. During the recent parliamentary sessions, the Parliament did not conduct a thematic investigation on the mentioned issues and/or monitor the implementation of normative acts, nor were relevant officials summoned. The high number of road deaths has not become the subject of debates and discussions in Parliament.

According to the Rules of Procedure, the Parliament is entitled to set up a commission, ad-hoc group, as well as to conduct research on road safety in cooperation with public and private agencies, international organizations, summon ministers responsible for the matter and request a report on their activities, issue recommendations and monitor the implementation of such recommendations.

In June 2020, the Parliament of Georgia amended the “Law on Roads” to introduce the concept of "black spots" in the country. The black spot refers to a section of the road, not more than 300 meters, within which a) at least four road deaths have been reported in the last three years, or b) at least ten road accidents ended in serious health injuries and/or death. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministries of Regional Development and Infrastructure were instructed by law to develop relevant plans and normative acts to eliminate the black spots. Therefore, the Parliament of Georgia shall:

- summon the Ministers of Interior and Regional Development and Infrastructure and require a report on the activities carried out to eliminate the black spots defined in the “Law on Roads;”

- Create a working group with the involvement of stakeholders and organizations and study the problems of enforcement of existing legislation on road safety.