MOSCOW, May 19 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a crackdown Saturday on the number of officials whose cars are allowed to use sirens.
A decree posted on the Kremlin Web site says the number of cars permitted to use "migalki," as the sirens are known, will be scaled back from 1,000 to just 569 by June 1. The decree says this will "increase road safety" and stop "inappropriate use" of sirens.
RIA Novosti reported there has been increased public outcry against the sirens, typically used by businessmen and state officials who use them to bypass traffic rules. The sirens have also been blamed for a number of accidents in the past few years.
The grassroots group Blue Buckets has staged many protests against the sirens, and keeps track of offending vehicles.
Communist lawmaker Vadin Solovyov criticized the Kremlin's decision as insufficient.
"Everything will go back to what it was before unless we get rid of all the privileges completely," he told RIA Novosti.