Controlling young peoples’ traffic behaviour is a core tool of the police to impact traffic-related criminality and safety

Publication date 17.3.2023 10.58
News item
A police van (maija) parked on the side of the road. Traffic control in progress.

Besides specific traffic policing operations, the police surveillance and emergency operations also include traffic control tasks. Screening of drunken driving and controlling traffic behaviour of the young are important means available to the police in the efforts to improve traffic safety.

Traffic control constitutes an important tool for the police to impact both traffic safety and traffic-related criminality.

- The primary aim is to highlight the perceived risk of apprehension among the road users, Assistant Police Commissioner Pasi Rissanen explains.

Besides traffic-related offences, the police involved in traffic control must also actively try to detect other types of crime. Both traffic safety and criminality on the roads can be impacted effectively, using crime prevention and permit administration tools. Any police assignment may reveal indications of factors suggesting that the holder of the driver’s licence might not meet the respective health requirements. For example, an assignment related to mental health or use of intoxicants may suggest that a driving health check is in order.

Intoxicants, driving health and alertness as well as the young in traffic are among the core areas which the police want to impact through its traffic control and safety work both on the roads, offroad areas and on waterways. In addition to control, these aspects are targeted by other policing operations and by communications. 

Society should invest in the prevention of traffic-related deaths of the young. Fatal traffic accident situations caused by the young are normally characterised by several background factors, such as drunken driving and speeding. Intoxicants are a major risk factor in young drivers’ accidents, even if drunken driving is not a phenomenon typical of the young mainly. Traffic offences committed by the young, as any other types of youth criminality, are often an group phenomenon, i.e., the illegal acts are committed in groups searching pleasure and experiences, with a wish to show and to be seen.

Traffic safety is promoted not only by traffic control but the sense of being controlled. Communications can be used to enhance this. Nowadays communications play a central role in the whole of the traffic safety work. 

- The impact of control is intensified through communications, Information Analyst Mika Sutela adds.

Communications can be used in a preventive manner through traffic training and education. The most appropriate and effective way to target the communications at various groups is to work with various collaboration parties. As concerns the young, it is very appropriate to provide information on traffic regulations, proactive ways to move about as well as on traffic accidents and their consequences.

The article Päihteet ja nuoret poliisin liikenneturvallisuustyön keskeisiä vaikuttavuuskohteita (“Intoxicants and the young are core impact targets of the police traffic safety work”, in Finnish only) was published on 8 March 2023 in issue 1/2023 of Haaste which is a web publication of the Ministry of Justice and the National Council for Crime Prevention operating under the Ministry. The publication focuses on crime prevention, criminal policy and crime, and the theme of this issue was intoxicant services and addictions. 

National Police Board News Offences and criminal investigation Traffic