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Finnish police plan to enforce traffic fines for Estonian drivers

Estonian motorists who commit traffic violations in Finland may have an official notice waiting for them at home if a police proposal goes through.

Kameravalvonnasta kertova liikennemerkki.
Traffic cameras record speeding cars, whether Finnish or Estonian. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Finnish police are planning to send non-resident Estonian drivers penalty notices for traffic violations committed during their stay in Finland.

The notice would allow the drivers in Estonia to choose between picking up the fine upon returning to Finland and providing a Finnish address where the fine may be sent, such as to an employer.

Current legislation does not allow for fines to be sent directly across national borders.

"If the offender does not respond to the notice in a set time period, both the driver and their vehicle will be wanted by the police," says traffic safety chief Dennis Pasterstein. "Police will conduct a proper investigation is they come across the offender or the car in question."

Pasterstein says the proposal to tighten traffic violation enforcement is to improve road safety and to make sure Estonian drivers also adhere to traffic camera monitoring.

"This year there have been 12,000 cases where foreign drivers, mostly from Estonia, have committed traffic offenses. A large portion of the resulting fines have not been addressed or enforced, because the fines could not be delivered to the recipient," Pasterstein explains.

Police intend to send off the first warning letters before the end of the year.

Collected money stays where it is

Fines that police have brought to the attention of an EU citizen and that have not been paid in time end up on the desk of the Legal Register Centre. The centre can then delegate the enforcement of the fine to another EU country, such as Estonia.

If the request is acknowledged in the other country, that country's officials may then collect the fine from the person living or staying there.

"Money collected in this way will remain in the country in question and will not end up in Finland," Legal Register Centre executive director Tauno Aalto says.

More than 400 such international requests have been sent out this year. That is a record number, but still just one fifth of the stack that could be sent given enough resources.

"We should be sending at leats three times as many of these requests if we wanted to keep the clearance rate at an acceptable level," Aalto says.

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