Revisions to Road Traffic Act
The Government submitted the Road Traffic Act for approval on 9 August 2018. The Act is scheduled to enter into force on 1 June 2020.
The purpose of the new Act is to improve the flow and safety of traffic and create a favourable environment for digitalisation and safe automation of traffic while reducing regulatory burdens.
"The transport sector is undergoing rapid changes. It is important to update the road traffic regulation and at the same time take advantage of the opportunities presented by automation and digitalisation," says Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.
"The revised Road Traffic Act will provide the framework for smooth, efficient and safe traffic also in future. The revisions to the Act improve the legal provisions and are also an important deregulation project," Minister Berner says.
New Road Traffic Act reduces regulatory burdens and improves traffic safety
The revised Road Traffic Act reduces regulatory burdens and promotes traffic safety, flow of traffic and consideration of environmental aspects. The number of individual regulations has been reduced, and texts have been edited to make them more accurate and up-to-date.
The new Act lays down provisions on traffic behaviour. They include traffic rules and regulations, traffic signs and rules concerning the use of vehicles on the road.
The Act improves traffic safety and citizens' legal protection and also reforms the penal system applied to traffic offences. It introduces provisions on the traffic penalty fee. The fee will be used as a sanction for minor traffic offences.
Act prepared in cooperation with stakeholders and in view of the future
The Act has been prepared in cooperation with stakeholders. The authorities and ministries as well as a wide range of NGOs and associations in the transport sector have taken part in the preparations of the Act.
The new Act has been prepared with a view to the future as it takes the advances in vehicle and traffic technology into consideration. Attention has also been paid to unprotected road users, like cyclists.
The current Road Traffic Act is from 1981. The new Act will repeal several partly outdated decrees, including the Road Traffic Decree and the Decree on the Use of Vehicles on the Road. In practice, this means that provisions on traffic signs, road markings and traffic lights as well as on vehicle speed, measurements and masses will be laid down in acts and no longer in decrees. This approach is in line with the requirements of the Constitution.
The overall reform of the road transport legislation was launched in 2013 under the direction of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The basis for the reform is a Government resolution on road traffic safety issued in December 2016. The reform is part of the Government's key deregulation project.
The Road Traffic Act will enter into force on 1 June 2020.
The authorities will start the preparations for the implementation of the Act.
Before the Act's entry into force, a communication campaign for citizens will be carried out on the practical changes caused by the Act.
The impacts of the Act will be monitored closely.
Kimmo Kiiski, Senior Transport Adviser, tel. +358 50 539 5346