If you are ever driving in Russia and forget to keep your car clean, chances are that you will be stopped by the police and fined. An on the spot fine of up to 500 roubles (Rs 662) can be levied if you are caught driving a dirty car. Exactly how dirty is ‘dirty’ is however, open to interpretation.
A survey conducted by a Russian newspaper revealed that 46 per cent of the general public thought that a muddy license plate meant that the car was dirty. 22 per cent said that cars that had ‘wash me’ written on them are the ones that need to be penalised. But a good 9 per cent of the people were bent upon their stand that as long as the driver of the car was visible, the car should not be considered as dirty.
On digging deeper into the Russian Federation motoring rules, we found that it is against the law only if you drive a vehicle where the number plate is dirty and the registration number is not visible. But since this is not public knowledge, some unscrupulous policemen end up demanding fines even if the car is dirty and ignorant drivers end up paying the fine. Radio stations in Russia have now started programmes to keep the public informed about the rules so that they are in a position to question the policemen if they get caught despite having a clean number plate.
One thing we are sure about is that the rule must definitely have spurred car owners to clean up their cars in order to avoid being stopped by policeman. Soon the number of canvases the Dirty Car Artist may find in Russia will definitely be very few.