Entry into force of acts on lightweight cars postponed by one year
The entry into force of the acts on speed-limited passenger cars, also known as lightweight cars, will be postponed by one year until 1 November 2020. Before the acts enter into force, the aim is to find out whether Finnish legislation on lightweight cars could be amended to follow European Union legislation.
The postponement is related to the stricter position of the European Commission on applying the Driving Licence Directive to vehicles of the tractor category, in which the Finnish lightweight vehicles would be included. The entry into force of the current provisions involve a risk of infringement procedures by the Commission against Finland.
Finnish Parliament approved the government proposal to postpone the entry into force of the acts on lightweight cars on 16 October 2019.
On 24 October 2019, the Government proposed the adoption of the act on postponing the entry into force of the Vehicles Act, the Act on Driving Licences as well as certain related acts required for the introduction of lightweight cars. The President of the Republic is expected to adopt the Act on 25 October 2019.
What is a lightweight car?
The provisions on lightweight vehicles would allow a 15-year-old holder of a moped car licence (category AM121) to drive a lightweight vehicle that has been modified from a passenger car and inspected as such. The aim of lightweight cars and the legislation is to improve traffic safety, especially for young people.
Lightweight cars are vehicles of the tractor category (T1) that have been modified from M1 category vehicles, in other words passenger cars, taken into use no earlier than in 2015. A lightweight car's maximum structural speed has been limited to 60 kilometres per hour and its mass when in driving condition to 1,500 kg at most, or 1,800 kg at most when the vehicle's only power source is electricity.
The acts on lightweight vehicles as well as the decrees and regulations laid down under them were scheduled to enter into force on 1 November 2019.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications is preparing the amendments to the acts on lightweight cars in close cooperation with stakeholders and the European Commission.
The aim is to examine as soon as possible whether a solution that would be in accordance with the Driving Licence Directive and meet the requirements of the Commission could be found. If such a solution is not found, it is possible that the Government will later propose that the laws on lightweight vehicles be repealed.
The proposal either to amend or repeal the acts should be submitted to Parliament for discussion before the Act's entry into force on 1 November 2020.
Aino Still, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 573 9433
Sini Wirén, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 507 0916, Twitter @WirenSini