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Zero-Tolerance Bill on Alcohol and Driving Approved

Two years after the State Duma allowed drivers to have a bottle of beer before getting behind the wheel, deputies passed in a third and final reading on Friday a zero-tolerance bill on drinking and driving.

The reversal was initiated by President Dmitry Medvedev, who said last December that, seeing how Russians drink, they should not be allowed any alcohol before driving.

"They start with a shot, then another one, then two, three, and then they think they can still drive," Medvedev said.

In 2008, the Duma approved a bill setting a limit of 0.3 grams of alcohol per liter of blood for the driver, or allowing a driver to down roughly a bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of vodka.

The bill approved Friday specifies that drivers whose bodies produce alcohol naturally — what sometimes happens during certain metabolism dysfunctions — will need to carry a special medical certificate.

Last year, 2,217 people died in traffic accidents caused by drunk driving in Russia, according to the traffic police.

The zero-tolerance bill must now be approved by the Federation Council before it can be sent to Medvedev to be signed into law.

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