Quarter of drivers would qualify for driving penalty points

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Rush hour traffic on Pirita Road. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A quarter of drivers would fit the criteria for penalty points under new plans to introduce a system to penalize dangerous and repeated traffic violations.

The penalty point system (VPS) will be introduced to try and reduce dangerous driving and accidents. There will be three levels of points issue in relation to the severity of the offense committed, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Friday.

"12 penalty points is the limit at which the right to drive is suspended," Mait Klein, chief specialist of the Transport and Traffic Service of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications told AK. In some cases it will be possible to reduce the number of points by participating in a training course instead.

A high number of points will be handed out and the license revoked if the driver is caught drink driving twice or driven well over the speed limit three times in a three-year period.

The aim of the system is to influence drivers who repeatedly break traffic rules which endanger other road users.

"Unfortunately, some road users are in the orbit of the police more often than others, it can be said that the penalty point system will probably be effective in influencing them," said Varmo Rein, head of the Police and Border Guard's Northern Prefecture Traffic Patrol Service.

Analysis shows 25 percent of driving license holders would qualify for points.

"Only 7 percent of our driving license holders are repeated offenders, and 1.3 percent of Estonian driver's license holders need to be dealt with very seriously. We are talking about a relatively small group of Estonian road users who are significantly more dangerous than ordinary road users," said sworn advocate Indrek Sirk.

Currently, while the majority of fines expire one year after payment, but the new system will monitor drivers for five years in the hope of breaking the cycle of repeat offending. Penalty points will expire in a time period of between one and five years. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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