The driver training reform reaches the draft-law stage
The Ministry of Transport and Communications has placed the draft for the reform of driving licence requirements into circulation for comment. The proposed amendments to the Driving Licence Act would affect all driving licence categories except those for trucks and buses. The current curriculum-based requirements would be discontinued, and it would be possible to freely choose the learning method and the time spent on learning.
Comments are requested by 22 June 2017. The project supports deregulation, which is one of the Government’s key projects.
“This is an extensive reform that affects a large number of people. For this reason, I hope that feedback will be provided actively and extensively. The purpose of the proposal is to clarify and simplify driving licence regulations without compromising any aspect of traffic safety. Added flexibility in driving instruction would also lower the cost of getting a driving licence,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.
According to the proposal, those pursuing their first driving licence would be required to complete a four-hour theory requirement at the beginning of their training, regardless of their driving licence category. This four-hour session would provide them with basic information about driving a motor vehicle and about traffic safety requirements. The intention is that this training will take place at a driving school, but it could also be integrated into basic or upper secondary education.
The requirements for driving instruction and its implementation would be simplified, and the learning would no longer be based on set curricula. The learners would be able to choose the learning methods more freely. While they would be able to freely choose the theory teaching and learning methods, a statutory permit – a driving school licence or driving instruction permit – would be required for driving instruction.
With regard to private car driving licences (Category B), the most significant change proposed is the discontinuation of the current three-stage process. Instead, the learner would be required to complete eight hours of training in identifying risks and driving in difficult conditions. This would largely correspond to the current advanced stage, which has been regarded as particularly important for improving traffic safety for young drivers. This training would primarily be provided at driving schools. To gain more driving experience, driving instruction could be provided to learners aged 16 or over.
Driving instruction permits for private car driving licences would be made easier to manage by discontinuing the requirement for a dual-control pedal, for example. Driving instruction provided under an instruction permit could be supplementary or alternative to instruction provided at a driving school.
The decree to be implemented based on the Act will include a minimum requirement for driving instruction, and the individual need for driving instruction or practice will be assessed based on this minimum requirement.
The intention is also to make it easier to upgrade motorcycle driving licences. If a driver has at least two years of driving experience, they could upgrade to the next category by passing a driving test. Drivers with less than two years of experience would need to pass a theory test in addition to the driving test.
With regard to tractor driving licences, the current two categories (T and LT) would be replaced with just one category. This would mean that a driving licence in Category T would allow its holder to drive tractors that have a maximum structural speed of 60 km/h.
This type of examination-based driver training would also mean changes to driving tests. Sections related to driving safely and identifying dangerous situations would be added to driving tests. The theory test would be made more demanding, and the driving test would include more driving in traffic.
Changes to the health requirements, among other aspects, are also proposed. Driving licences other than those for trucks or buses would not need to be renewed until the holder turns 75 years of age.
The approval of foreign driving licences in mainland Finland would be expanded to cover licences issued by all states recognized by Finland. The temporary approval of foreign driving licences would make it easier for their holders to use various tourism and travel-related services, for example.
Sabina Lindström, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 527 6103
Eija Maunu, Senior Government Adviser, tel. +358 40 716 4140