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Traffic rules and traffic safety

In the present paper the effects of traffic rules on driver behaviour and on traffic safety are discussed. The discussion is mainly based on research conerning driver’s use of safety equipment, their speed adjustment and drunken driving with respect to safety potential, effects of the rules, and effects of enforcement on driver behaviour. Factors influencing drivers’ decisions to comply with rules are also considered. It is concluded that only rules that are possible to enforce should be implemented and that police surveillance should be visible to the drivers. Also, the traffic system should be seen as a social system where drivers are interacting with other drivers and road users. Rules and regulations are important to help the actors of the system to function in a safe and effective way.

Road Traffic Rules

in the USSR, a normative document that establishes traffic rules.

The Road Traffic Rules are compulsory for all participants in road traffic, including drivers, pedestrians, and passengers. The regulations apply not only to streets and roads but also to all places where traffic is possible—on forest and unpaved roads, ice crossings, fields (for example, in agricultural work), and enclosed areas (motor pools, plants, and factories). They may not be contradicted by other normative documents concerned with the shipment of special freight and the operation of certain types of transport equipment—for example, the technical operation rules for certain forms of transportation and instructions and orders from ministries and departments concerning the operation of motor vehicles.

The Road Traffic Rules promote safe, fast traffic. They establish the meaning of the signals of traffic lights and traffic controllers, road signs, and road markings and describe the movements of participants in road traffic in the most typical conditions and situations. The rules regulate the positioning of vehicles on the roadway, the changing of position, passing, stopping, parking, and traversing intersections and railroad crossings. They also establish speed limits for populated areas. An important part of the traffic rules is the list of requirements that vehicles in operation must meet. The law provides for criminal prosecution, fines, or disciplinary measures when the regulations are violated, depending on the nature of the violation and its consequences. Special measures of social influence may also be applied.

The first traffic rules after the October Revolution of 1917, On Vehicle Traffic in the City of Moscow and Its Environs (Rules), were ratified in 1920 by a decree signed by V. I. Lenin. Until 1940 traffic regulations were developed and ratified by local governmental agencies, such as city, oblast, and krai Soviets of workers’ deputies. There were unnecessary differences in the rules, and they were in large part oriented to draft animal transport. In 1940 the first model rules in the USSR were ratified to serve as a basis for the development of local rules. Even greater uniformity became possible after ratification of the model traffic rules of 1957, which eliminated many restrictions. From 1957 to 1959 republic road traffic rules were put into effect in most of the Union republics on the basis of the model rules.

In 1959 the USSR joined the international traffic convention and protocol on highway signs and signals adopted in 1949 at a UN conference on road and vehicle transport. Taking into account the international documents, the first standard road traffic rules for the entire USSR were introduced (with amplifications and refinements) on Jan. 1, 1961. In January 1965 the Traffic Rules for the Streets of Cities and Populated Areas and the Roads of the USSR were introduced. The Road Transport Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, with USSR participation, worked out two new international agreements—a convention on traffic and a convention on highway signs and signals. They were adopted at a UN conference in Vienna in 1968. The latest domestic and international experience in motor vehicle transportation and road traffic was reflected in the road traffic rules that went into effect on Jan. 1, 1973.


  • Pravila dorozhnogo dvizheniia. Moscow, 1974.

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