Rookie drivers drink and speed

  • 2001-10-18
  • Aleksei Gunter
TALLINN - According to statistics released this week by the Estonian national car registry center, 1,312 or about 11 percent of the primary driving licenses issued in the country this year became invalid by the end of September as aspiring drivers drink and drive too fast.

The Estonian Traffic Act sets two types of driving license, the first one being a primary driving license that forces its holder not to drive faster than 70 kilometers an hour. Any significant violation of the traffic rules leads to the driving license's annulment and to another driving exam, including the difficult theory test.

Most of the rookie drivers who lost their primary license by October were men (92 percent), and the most widespread traffic violations were speeding by more that 20 kilometers an hour and drunk driving.

Toivo Kangur, the exam department director of the car registry center, said that such violations are becoming more and more common. "Unfortunately many young drivers have not yet realized that in some cases they will lose their license and can apply for another only after several months," said Kangur.

Other common reasons for license revocation were ignoring orders from a traffic warden, concealing a traffic accident, and creating dangerous situations on the road.

"Taking into account that there are fewer police officers on the streets now and that the number of traffic violations has not fallen, we can testify that the number of drinking and careless drivers is on the rise," said Kangur.

As of Oct. 15, 2001, there were 484,816 driving licenses issued in Estonia in general, and 515,489 vehicles were registered. People aged between 18 to 24 get most of the primary licenses.