Government wants to tighten up drink-driving laws

Aftermath of the fatal crash which killed a baby and two women on Saaremaa.
Aftermath of the fatal crash which killed a baby and two women on Saaremaa. Source: Irina Mägi

Government ministers have put forward suggestions for harsher drink-driving laws in the aftermath of a fatal collision earlier this month which killed three people, including a baby.

Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) and justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) propose a minimum sentence of a year's jail time for first-time offenders, with Helme also suggesting equating drink driving fatalities with murder, punishable by prison sentences stretching up to 15 years, according to daily Postimees (link in Estonian).

Raivo Aeg pointed out the severity of the problem in the light of research which shows 15-20 percent of drunk drivers apprehended have alcohol dependency issues, meaning they are likely to offend again.

The fatal crash on Saaremaa on Saturday, January 11, involved a driver who was known to police on the island as having driven under the influence previously. A nine-month-old baby, the baby's mother, and another woman, were killed on the Risti-Virtsu-Kuivastu highway near the village of Masa, after being hit at speed by an overtaking vehicle as they attempted to turn left into a side road.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications also says it wants to implement a driving license points system for infractions, and has the support of all the other ministries.

The coalition's traffic committee is set to discuss proposals next week, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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