New winter tire requirements to take effect in December 2022

Winter tires.
Winter tires. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Centre) has signed a draft regulation that will forbid the use of studless snow tires marked M+S as winter tires in Estonia as of Dec. 1, 2022, unless they also bear the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol, indicating that the tires are severe snow service rated.

Aas said in a press release that the M+S marking can be found on all-season tires which are not actually meant to be used in Estonia's climate, as they are more suited to climates where winter precipitation consists largely of sleet.

"In Estonia, the weather in winter is often extremely variable, making for very difficult road conditions for which all tires marked M+S currently permitted for use are not necessarily suited," the minister explained. "The use of such snow tires may cause dangerous situations for everyone involved in traffic, which in the worst case may end in injury or death."

Winter tire requirements have to be adapted to the local climate in order to improve road safety, he added.

The three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) logo branded on a tire's sidewall indicates that the tire meets the required performance criteria in snow testing to be considered severe snow service rated.

According to the draft regulation signed by the minister, the requirement for studless winter tires to bear the 3PMSF logo will enter into effect on Dec. 1, 2022. The intermediate transitional period is meant to allow motorists whose vehicle tires do not meet the new requirement to be able to make full use of their existing tires.

A similar requirement is already in effect in Germany and is under consideration in Sweden.

As of Dec. 1, 2020, Estonia will also expand the requirement for winter tires to moped vehicles as well, which are not subject under current regulations.

The requirement for winter tires in Estonia to bear the 3PMSF logo does not apply to vehicles using all-terrain tires meant for professional use, which bear the marking POR.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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