Government proposes amendments to the Vehicles Act
The Government proposes that the Vehicles Act and certain acts related to it be amended. The Government submitted a proposal on the matter to Parliament on 17 November 2022.
The proposal includes a clearer ban on emissions manipulation and a more severe sanctions policy. It is also proposed that converting vehicle propulsion systems be allowed on a large scale, automation experiments in road transport be promoted and the regulation on small transport robots be clarified.
In addition, the proposal aims at introducing into national legislation the amendments required by the EU implementing regulation on the monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
The proposal is based on the needs identified in the previous reform of the Vehicles Act as well as on the advancement of technology and international regulation and with regard to propulsion system conversions on the road map for fossil-free transport.
Banning emissions manipulation and allowing conversions aim at reducing emissions from transport
The amendments would promote a more flexible implementation of vehicle conversions. Further regulations on the technical requirements and preconditions for conversions would be provided by the Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.
Another purpose of complementing the act is to clarify the regulation on emissions manipulation. It would be prohibited to sell or install equipment used for emissions manipulation as well as to modify a vehicle by manipulating emissions.
“These are again important steps towards reducing transport emissions. We are bringing more flexibility in the process of converting propulsion systems, for example in ethanol conversions. In addition, this regulation would prohibit emissions manipulation more explicitly,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.
The regulation would also tighten the regime for sanctioning emissions manipulation, i.e. the imposition of a traffic violation fee and a penalty payment. Penalty payments would be imposed by Traficom. The aim is to eliminate emissions-manipulation-based business and the use of emissions-manipulated vehicles in road transport, and thus reduce emissions, especially from transport.
Automation testing to be promoted and regulation on small transport robots clarified
The regulation would allow the testing of vehicles equipped with automatic driving systems on public roads also without a human driver. It would also allow automation experiments in transport services provided for a charge. The background for the promotion of automation is, in particular, the amendment to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which calls for national regulation.
In future, small transport robots would be classified as vehicles, but they would still be allowed to move on the pavement.
A referral debate will be held on the proposal now submitted by the Government to Parliament. The timetable for the debate will be listed on Parliament’s website (upcoming plenary sessions).
After the referral debate, the proposal will be taken to a Parliamentary Committee. Once the Committee’s report is ready, the matter will be discussed in a plenary session.
The amendments are planned to take effect as of the beginning of 2023.
Saara Reinimäki, Director of Automation Unit, tel. +358 50 323 3065, firstname.lastname@example.org