New laws and regulations bring strict measures against violations of traffic safety and curb celebratory gunfire, a notorious tradition at wedding parties that claim lives every year.
Amendments to the Traffic Law published in the Official Gazette on Friday introduced fines for reckless drivers. Exceeding the speed limit will be punishable by a fine of TL 1,002 ($178), while motorists performing spins and drifts will be hit with a fine of TL 5,010. Drivers using a cellphone while behind the wheel will be slapped with a fine of TL 235. Exceeding the speed limit five times in a year will result in the confiscation of the offender's drivers license and motorists whose driver's licenses are confiscated twice within five years will be banned from driving. They will be able to renew their licenses only after an examination by a psychiatrist. Other fines under the new amendment scheme covers drivers not stopping at red lights and those endangering road safety by rapidly switching lanes.
Reckless driving is the main cause of traffic accidents in Turkey. Every year, accidents take an emotional and financial toll on Turkey despite safety measures. Official figures for 2017 show that 7,427 people died in more than 1.2 million accidents and 300,383 people were injured.
The gun culture in Turkey also remains a threat to safety, with stray bullets claiming innocent lives despite warnings and fines. Four people were killed and dozens were wounded in 448 separate incidents all across Turkey in the first eight months of 2018, mostly in celebratory gunfire accompanying wedding parties and similar events. In a memorandum to governorates on Friday, the Interior Ministry asked for new measures to prevent deaths by celebratory gunfire. Governorates are now required to receive a binding document from party organizers who will be mandated to prevent gunfire. Governorates are also allowed to issue public orders to prevent celebratory gunfire while they are also instructed to organize campaigns to raise awareness on the issue.