In Finland, a new vehicle category, light cars, will be introduced. The speed of the vehicles in that category is limited to 60 km per hour. The aim of the introduction is to provide young people with a new, safer mobility option.
According to the information published by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, a driver of a light car has to be at least 15 years of age and hold a driving licence for light quadrimobiles, or moped cars, (AM/121). The theory and driving test requirements for driving a light car are the same as for moped cars.
A light car can be converted from a passenger car that has been taken into use after 2014 and is no more than 10 years old. This ensures that light cars will be relatively new vehicles and as safe as possible. After 2014, many safety features have become compulsory for passenger cars and they cannot be appropriately retrofitted to older cars.
The maximum permissible unladen mass of a light car is 1,500 kg and, in case of an electric car, 1,800 kg.
Inspection and taxes
The Ministry of Transport and Communications remarks that in order to convert a passenger car into a light car, a modification inspection has to be carried out. The taxation of light cars will be the same as of passenger cars.
When adopting the act, Parliament required the Government to very closely monitor the safety of light cars as well as the effects of the regulation and, if necessary, take immediate action. Parliament also required the Government to report on the situation to the Transport and Communications Committee by the end of 2021 at the latest.
On 17 January 2019, the Government proposed amendments to the acts that would enable the introduction of light cars: Vehicles Act, Act on Driving Licences, and the related acts.
The President of the Republic is expected to approve the bills on 18 January 2019.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications is preparing Government decrees relating to the legislative amendments. They concern, for example, the obligation to use a slow vehicle sign in a light car. This was required by Parliament. A separate public consultation on the draft decrees will be arranged.
The legislative amendments and the Government decree are due to enter into force on 1 November 2019.