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Flood of driver's permit applications from 17-year-olds after legal reform

So far authorities have granted 2,000 permits based on a new exception in the law, while another 2,900 applications are in the pipeline

Image: Petri Aaltonen / Yle

New rules that make it possible for 17-year-olds to apply for driver's permits have proven to be very popular, according to the Uutissuomalainen news consortium.

Last summer, legislation took effect that relaxed the requirements for obtaining a driver's licence. Previously underage driver's permit applicants needed to lay out particularly weighty reasons to be considered for a license.

However under the new regulations, few such applications are rejected. Since the introduction of the new regime, authorities have granted more than 2,000 age-related special licenses while another 2,900 are in the pipeline.

According to Uutissuomalainen, the agency responsible for granting the licences, Traficom, reports a major backlog in applications, with new ones coming in at a rate of about 1,000 per month.

The new rules allow 17-year-olds to acquire a driver's permit for reasons such as a long school commute or to participate in extra-curricular activities.

A learner's permit may be granted three months before the applicant's 17th birthday, while a regular driver's test can be completed at the age of 17.