Forget fines or points on your license, you’re going to the naughty step

Think speeding will get you to your destination quicker? Think again. In Estonia, police are currently trialling a new kind of speeding penalty. Rather than receiving a fine or points on your license, offending drivers will instead have to take a hefty time penalty of 45 or 60 minutes, depending on how severe their offence was.

Estonia Is Giving Speeding Drivers A Time Out

The innovative penalty system has just started initial testing, with it being enforced on a main road that joins the beautiful and historic city of Tallinn to the small and quaint town of Rapla. This week, the programme was enforced on Thursday only, with further tests to continue within the coming weeks.

Estonia Is Giving Speeding Drivers A Time Out

If an unlucky Estonian was caught breaking the speed limit by 20 km/h (12 mph) or less, they would be given a 45 minute time penalty, and if they broke the limit by 21 km/h – 40 km/h (25 mph) then they would receive a 60 minute time penalty. If they were exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h, we imagine they’d be receiving a lot worse than a mere timeout.

The timeout penalty had to be paid immediately in a parking area next to the road, meaning that the offenders who were speeding would hopefully learn that breaking the speed limit doesn’t get you to your destination quicker. Furthermore, only those with a clean license were eligible for the time penalty.

The new approach comes as a response to the sudden increase in road incidents and fatalities that occurred in 2017. With most countries penalising speeding drivers with monetary fines, Estonia is trying an alternate route by enforcing a different kind of disincentive. Time is money after all and it could be argued that a time penalty is, in many cases, a harsher penalty than a monetary fine. There’s nothing worse than someone stopping you when you’re trying to get somewhere quickly.

Estonia Is Giving Speeding Drivers A Time Out

“This is part of a traffic innovation project that aims to find new effective ways to improve road safety,”

“We are investigating how speeders perceive the fine and the impact of the lost time. We know from interviews with motorists that some people consider having a conversation with a police officer and the time they take to intervene more effectively than fines.”

Estonia Is Giving Speeding Drivers A Time Out

“On the basis of these police operations, we will collect information about the reasons speeders give to justify breaking the limit. We are analyzing the impact of different interventions to find more effective solutions, because the goal is for perpetrators to actually change their behaviour, not to punish them for the sake of punishment,” said PPA innovation advisor, Elari Kasemets.

Not only are the police taking away your time rather than your hard-earned money, but the Estonian law enforcement is also trying to understand the reasons behind dangerous driving behaviours such as speeding.

How would you feel about being given a timeout penalty rather than a monetary fine?

If you enjoyed this, you may also like our article on “5 Bizzare European Driving Laws”.

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