Traffic Act Changes to Ease Paperwork for Non-EU Drivers ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Traffic Act looks likely to get a number of significant updates, including abolishing the bete noire of international visitors - the need for an international driving permit.

Under the draft law developed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, driving licenses will be accepted as long as the text appears in roman type and the document indicates what categories and types of vehicles may be operated.

A notarized translation into Estonian will also be accepted if the license appears not to comply with either of these conditions.

The Traffic Act is likely to get other significant updates, most geared to reducing paperwork and documents and some for increasing safety.

* New drivers will no longer be required to display the green maple leaf on their rear windshield, although they can continue to do so if they choose.

* Under the draft law, cyclists who have decided not to dismount to cross a street (something that is legal) have to make the crossing at walking speed. They will not have right of way unless they dismount.

* Bicyclists and moped users, who currently have to slow to pedestrian speed when crossing places where bike paths intersect carriageways, will now also have to decelerate when crossing hidden driveways.

The aim of the changes, said the ministry, is to slow things down to minimize harm in the case of priority conflicts.

* Organized groups of pedestrians are currently required to use the sidewalk or roadway, but amendments will give them the right to use bicycle and footpaths as well.

* Mopeds with three or four wheels may not be used on bike paths under the proposed changes. The minimum age for operating a four-wheeled moped will be increased to 16.

* The changes also ease rules for physical documents. If a person loses their driver's license, they will no longer have to apply for a physical replacement, as everything is computerized. Instead, they can use their ID card.

Nor do bicyclists under the age of 16 (who do require a license) need to have a physical document.

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