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Finland's top cops call for crackdown on speeding

More than half of drivers in Finland exceed speed limits, according to Fintraffic statistics.

Traffic on a highway.
In practice, police do not intervene if someone is driving slightly above the speed limit. Image: AOP
Yle News

Finland's National Police Board is calling on officers to step up the enforcement of traffic rules, as statistics from Finland's transport information agency Fintraffic revealed that half of drivers exceed speed limits.

Juha Valtonen, a senior specialist at the Finnish Road Safety Council, told Yle that drivers too often exceed the limits, even in densely-populated areas of Helsinki.

He added that the limits are well thought out and appropriate, but the problem is that too few motorists adhere to the rules.

Too large buffer for speeders

Valtonen further noted that police tend not to intervene even if a motorist drives slightly above the limit, for example by going at a speed of 88 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.

Added to this, radar guns tend to have a 3 km/h margin of error which means that a driver may be travelling well above the limit but still escape without any penalty.

For example, a motorist travelling at 40 km/h through a 30 km/h zone may not even come to the police's attention.

Pasi Rissanen, Assistant Police Commissioner at the National Police Board, told Yle that smaller speeding offences can and are dealt with, but usually with by a warning.

"Traffic fines are most often only issued for speeding above seven kilometres per hour," said Rissanen.

Rissanen said that the question of whether speeding should be tackled with a lower threshold in future is currently under consideration.

"This is on the table. We are considering whether the police's threshold to intervene should be lowered," he confirmed.

Road maintenance discourages speeding

According to Rissanen, speeding could also be tackled by better maintenance of the nation's road networks.

In practice, for example, this would mean reducing the number of lanes on urban multi-lane roads.

"Infrastructural development is another new tool under consideration," Rissanen said.

Rissanen also called on drivers to take more responsibility. Winter speed limits will soon come into effect, so obeying the rules of the road becomes especially vital in preventing traffic accidents.

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