Estonian police will offer speeding motorists the choice of a timeout instead of a fine as part of a new approach to reducing the country’s rising road toll.
Rather than cop a hefty hit to the hip pocket, drivers exceeding the speed limit by 20km/h or less will be subjected to a 45-minute wait on the side of the road, while drivers exceeding the limit by between 21km/h and 40km/h will sit out for 60 minutes.
Drivers taking the cashless punishment will be directed to a parking zone by the side of the road to serve their on-the-spot sentence.
The new system is only a trial at the moment on the road between the Estonian cities of Talinn and Rapla, and the choice will only be given to motorists who have no prior traffic offences.
Speaking to Estonian public broadcaster ERR, police innovation advisor Elari Kasemets said “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 [is] more effective than fines.
Read: Do speeding fines work?
“The goal is for perpetrators to actually change their behaviour, not to punish them for the sake of punishment.”
Estonians rate highly in Europe’s speeding statistics with an unenviable toll, so the country is trying new ways to get motorists to take note of the damage speeding can cause. Last year, traffic police handed out organ donor cards as well as fines in order to shock drivers into slowing down.
Read next: What to do if you are caught speeding
The trial will take place over the next two weeks before deciding whether it is an effective punishment and worthy of expansion. Whether motorists respond positively to the timeout approach or not, we're curious to see how the trial turns out and at least it's innovative.
Do you think Australian law enforcement would ever take on a similar form of punishment?