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Cablegate: Distracted Driving Demarche

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHYE #0082 0491245
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181245Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY YEREVAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0037

UNCLAS YEREVAN 000082

SIPDIS

OES/S FOR N. CARTER-FOSTER, DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CAR - KAREN
JO MCISAAC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON SOCI UNDP UNGA IC
SUBJECT: DISTRACTED DRIVING DEMARCHE

REF: STATE 06703

1. Poloff delivered points contained in reftel to Lilit
Avetisyan, the Armenian Ministry of Health officer
responsible for road safety issues. In order to compile some
of below statistics, Poloff also accessed government
statistics available to the public at www.armstat.am.

2. According to Avetisyan, there are currently no Armenian
laws that ban texting and/or cell phone use while driving.
Still, Avetisyan was optimistic that a law would be passed
via the Armenian government's 5 year strategic transport
safety plan. Avetisyan noted that a law covering cell phone
use while driving has been discussed by various
parliamentarian committees, but has not yet been passed or
implemented by parliament.

3. There is no data available regarding casualties, injuries,
or crashes in Armenia related to cell phone usage or other
forms of driver distraction. Interestingly, traffic accident
statistics for 2009 showed a 20 percent improvement compared
to previous years. Officials believe that this improvement
was due to a stricter enforcement of fines and other
sanctions for the violation of traffic rules. Armenia has
also recently started cracking down on the widespread and
long standing non-use of safety belts by Armenian motorists.
Additionally, Armenian Police recently announced plans to
install a number of traffic cameras which would have the
ability to identify motorists who violate the speed limit,
run traffic lights, and other common traffic violations.

4. (U) The Armenian government has sponsored a mass media
awareness campaign regarding cell phone use while driving.
Avetisyan explained that the campaign placed advertisements
on television, in newspapers, and distributed pamphlets which
outlined the dangers of using a cell phone while operating a
vehicle.
YOVANOVITCH

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