Estonia is reluctantly preparing the paperwork to allow right-hand-drive vehicles to be registered in the country after the European Commission prevailed in its battle with Lithuania earlier this year.
Estonia and Poland supported Lithuania in its European Court of Justice battle against the European Commission, with Estonian experts also testifying - namely, they argued that traffic safety would be negatively impacted. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the European Commission, in March.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs told uudised.err.ee that as the European Court of Justice decision is directly applicable to all member states, it went ahead and drafted an amendment. The Ministry of Interior is due to give its endorsement by August 13.
The Road Administration has already changed its practice and is not ordering vehicles that have the steering wheel on the right to be rebuilt - as long as they have EU pattern approval.
However, the Ministry of Economic Affairs says in its explanatory memorandum to the draft amendment that allowing, say, vehicles made for the British market to be registered could have adverse effects.
"Such vehicles are the biggest hazard in particular on highways where drivers have to stray far into the opposite lane to see if it is possible to pass," it reads.
As registration was not allowed in the past and the number of right-hand-drive cars on Estonia's roads is under 500, it also argues, there has been no way of assessing their traffic safety record.