Amendments to Driving Licence Act aim to improve the safety of young drivers
On 5 May 2022, the Government submitted to Parliament its proposal for amending the Driving Licence Act. The aim of the proposal is to improve the road safety of young drivers.
According to the proposal, the category B restricted right to drive intended for drivers who are 17 years old would not be valid from midnight to 5 a.m. In addition, the driver would be allowed to transport only one passenger at a time. The restrictions would be valid until the driver turns 18. To facilitate the enforcement of the restrictions, the 17-year-old drivers would be obliged to use a symbol affixed to the car indicating that the driver is under 18 years old.
"The aim of the amendments to the Driving Licence Act is to give young people more freedom for mobility. Freedom brings responsibility. The restrictions on the right to drive aim to improve the road safety of young drivers," says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.
Efforts to improve the road safety of young drivers would also include developing the driver training. It is proposed that the training be complemented by expanding the scope of risk identification training. In addition, training on how to drive on slippery roads would mainly be carried out on a driver training track.
According to the proposal, a restricted right to drive a private car could be granted to a 17-year-old with the consent of their parent or guardian. At the same time, the exemption procedure allowing to issue a driving licence to a 17-year-old would be abolished. The exemption permit used for granting a 17-year-old student in vocational driver training the right to drive a passenger car and a vehicle combination would be discontinued too.
For anyone guilty of cheating in the theoretical test of the driver's examination the Transport and Communications Agency Traficom could impose a six-month ban on participating in the test or acting as an interpreter in the test.
The training provided to new drivers on whom a driving ban has been imposed would be extended to apply to the driving rights of mopeds, light quadricycles and tractors as well as to drivers on whom the police has imposed a temporary driving ban. Previously, the training only applied to the right to drive a motorcycle or a passenger car.
Aim is to improve the safety of young drivers and to promote their opportunities for mobility
The Driving Licence Act was amended in 2018. The aim was to clarify the regulation on driving licences and, in particular, to ease the system of acquiring a licence and thus affect the price of the driving licence, for example. Parliament adopted the Act provided that the implementation and impacts of the amendments are monitored.
Traficom published the first follow-up study on the Driving Licence Act on 10 March 2021. Later in spring 2021, a project was launched to amend the Act. The purpose of the project is to respond to the concerns raised in the study regarding young people's traffic behaviour, providing them opportunities for independent mobility.
A preliminary debate will be held on the proposal in a plenary session. The timetable for the debate will be listed on Parliament website. After the referral debate, the proposal will be sent to a parliamentary committee. The committee will draft a report, which will then be discussed in a plenary session.
Any extensive amendments to the Driving Licence Act will be assessed and implemented separately, for example in connection with the forthcoming revision of the EU Driving Licence Directive.
The authorities continuously monitor the impacts of the Act, especially from the perspective of traffic safety.
Monika Mutanen, Senior Officer, monika.mutanen(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 478 4820
Saara Louko, Senior Specialist, saara.louko(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 326 4741
Pyry Takala, Director of Unit, pyry.takala(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 911 7627
Gateway to Information on Government Projects: Government proposal on amending the Driving Licence Act
Traficom report: Kuljettajaopetuksen ja -tutkinnon uudistus vuonna 2018. Katsaus lakimuutoksen vaikutuksiin (Driving instruction and driving test reform of 2018. A review of the legislative amendment’s impacts; in Finnish).