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Driving licenses in New Year revamp

The process of getting a Finnish driving license is facing a shake-up in the New Year. The current two-year probationary license for new drivers is to be abolished, with new drivers getting a shiny new 15-year license right off the bat, and the theory test will in future be conducted on tablet computers.

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Image: Yle

The process of getting a Finnish driving license is to be revamped at the turn of the year. New drivers will get a fifteen-year license instead of the current two year probationary permit.

Learner drivers won’t have to go to the police station to pick up their freshly-minted license, but rather that function will switch to the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi. Their service provider Ajovarma, which conducts the testing process, will grant the licenses.

New drivers will still be required to undergo a practice phase and advanced tuition with a driving instructor or face a driving ban.

That’s not the only change: learners will also switch to a new tablet-based theory test, which according to Ajovarma will be the first such test in Europe.

In the new test there won’t be a ticking clock for each question, as at present. Instead candidates can take as long as they like on a single question, even pausing and going back to answer a difficult one, so long as they don’t take longer than 30 minutes for the whole test.

The tablet-based test is intended to be more intuitive than the traditional screen-and-keyboard version.

"It was under consideration for a long time, what kind of connection we should use for this," says Timo Hotti, an expert at Trafi. "We couldn’t think of anything simpler than a finger."

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