null Temporary amendments to transport legislation

Temporary amendments to transport legislation

Press release 30.04.2020 14.50 fi sv en

Traffic on E63 (Photo: Rodeo/Juha Tuomi)

The Government proposes temporary amendments to legislation concerning the administrative branch of the Ministry of Transport and Communications due to the emergency conditions resulting from the coronavirus epidemic.

The Government submitted a proposal on amendments to several acts to Parliament on 30 April 2020.

The amendments aim to facilitate business activities and people's daily lives and ensure well-functioning transport operations under emergency conditions. The objective is to protect, in particular, older people and other risk groups.

The proposal mainly contains amendments that concern time limits and documents to be submitted.

“The coronavirus epidemic affects citizens and businesses in a number of ways. The initiative for introducing the now proposed temporary amendments to the legislation has come directly from citizens and businesses, organisations and authorities in the transport sector. This legislative proposal brings desired relief to people's everyday lives and ensures the continuity of transport operations that are essential in society,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.

Medical certificates could be submitted later

The Government proposes temporary amendments to the Driving Licence Act in respect of submission of medical certificates. According to the proposal, persons over 70 years of age could renew their driving licences without having to submit the medical certificate required for the renewal and submit it to the police later, by 31 October 2020. The same would also apply to the renewal of driving licences for heavy vehicles of persons over 45 years of age and to the renewal of driving instructors’ licences.

An amendment proposed to the Act on Transport Services would allow the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency to renew a taxi driver licence so that the applicant would submit the required medical certificate within six months of the renewal of the licence.

The obligation of a train driver to present a medical certificate would be postponed, unless a railway doctor has required a more frequent medical examination than usual.

More flexibility to changing timetables and routes in public transport

According to the government proposal, the notification period of providers of passenger transport services would be shortened from 60 days to five days. The proposed amendment would enable public transport operators to change their timetables more quickly and thus adapt their business operations in the changing circumstances.

Validity of certificates of professional competence to be extended

According to the government proposal, the validity of maritime certificates of competence, such as certificates of competency, certificates of proficiency and pilotage certificates, would be extended by six months from their specified date of renewal. The deadline for submitting the documents required for the renewal of a certificate to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency and for taking the practical test would be 30 April 2021.

The validity of professional qualifications of lorry and bus drivers would be extended until 31 October 2020 without the drivers having to complete the required periodic training.

Smooth ship security verifications

The proposed amendments would allow the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency to authorise a classification society approved by it to carry out ship security verifications and to issue International Ship Security Certificates. These verifications are carried out on Finnish vessels that are abroad. Such a temporary authorisation would ensure smooth goods and freight transport and could remain in force until 31 October 2020.

A proposed amendment to the Register of Ships Act would enable a copy of a ship's document of title to be submitted instead of the original document. This amendment would remain in force until 31 October 2020.

What next?

A referral debate on the government proposal now submitted to Parliament will be conducted in a Parliament plenary session. Information on the date of the session will be available on the Parliament website (plenary session agendas).

After the referral debate, the proposal will be sent to a committee. Once the committee’s report is ready, the matter will be discussed in a plenary session again.

The objective is that the proposed acts would enter into force as soon as possible. The amendments would remain in force for a fixed period of a few months, but no longer than until 30 April 2021.

Inquiries:

Silja Ruokola, Director of Legal Affairs, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2367

Rita Linna, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2559