Moscow: In an effort to quell public anger over the misuse of flashing lights on the country`s roads, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday slashed by almost half the number of government officials allowed to use car sirens.
According to a decree posted on the Kremlin website, the number of vehicles with the "migalki" - as the lights are known - will be reduced to 569 from over 1,000 by June 01.
There has been rising public anger over the lights, which businessmen and state officials use to bypass traffic rules.
Motorist group Blue Buckets has staged a number of protests against them, and also runs a database of offending vehicles.
The decision to cut the number of VIP vehicles will "increase road safety" and put a halt to the "inappropriate use" of the sirens, the Kremlin said.
The sirens have been involved in a series of high-profile accidents in recent years.
Two women were killed in Moscow in 2010, when their car collided head-on with that of a senior executive of Russian oil giant LUKoil.
Witnesses said the executive`s car was driving on the wrong side of the road. The claim was denied by a LUKoil spokesman. No charges were brought after police said they lost the CCTV footage of the accident.