Starting from May 1, vehicles are required to have summer tires instead of studded winter tires. The police are checking all violations on a case-by-case basis, including whether having left the tires unchanged can be justified.
The transition time on changing tires has been flexible in Estonia. According to a2011 regulation made by the Minister of Economic Affairs, winter tires can be used from October 15 until March 31, but due to wintry road conditions, this was extended until April 30. At the end of March, the Road Administration (Maanteeamet) announced that people don´t need to hurry with changing the tires, because the temperature could fall to minus degrees at times during the following month, ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera reported".
Field manager at the Tallinn city center Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) station, Erik Jõesaar said that generally, the organization won't be doling out fines straight after May 1, but recommends changing the tires nonetheless.
"Because of the emergency situation, we are looking at every case separately since it is understandable that people have been in quarantine, or because of some other reasons related to the virus, they haven´t been able to change the tires," Jõesaar explained.
The emergency situation doesn´t mean that the tires shouldn´t be changed, because those who aren´t in quarantine can still go change their tires. Jõesaar said that the police can check if the tires have been unchanged due to quarantine.
"All those who are quarantined have been registered on our database, so that we can check if people are following the quarantine rules. Thus, we can control it regarding the tire changing as well," he said.
The PPA is asking people to change the tires at the first opportunity.
Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Kalle Klandorf (Center) said that driving with studded winter tires kicks up dust in the air and wears out the roads.
"We have measured the dust molecules and they are at quite a high limit even though we are washing the roads all the time. We have never showered the roads as much as we have this year. We are washing the streets every evening with water, and when the winter tires drive on it, then just as soon the dust is back there again," Klandorf said.
Klandorf said that the warm winters have demonstrated that there is no reason to drive with winter tires through to the beginning of May in any case.
"The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications should probably review this, regulation because our climate has changed in the ten years since this regulation was first established," he said.
Klandorf said that people should be informed clearly which tires can be used for how long.
Editor: Roberta Vaino