As of August, the Swedish government has implemented stricter regulations for A-traktors, also known as "epa traktors," which have become increasingly common on Swedish roads.
Unfortunately, this has resulted in a significant rise in the number of accidents involving A-traktors, with the figures from the Swedish Transport Agency indicating that A-traktor accidents nearly doubled between 2019 and 2021.
However, it is important to consider that the surge in accidents correlates with a substantial increase in the number of A-traktors during the same period, with registered vehicles rising from 25,000 to approximately 43,000.
This increase can be attributed to regulatory changes aimed at simplifying the process of converting cars into A-traktors and streamlining the associated administrative procedures due to the surge in conversion applications.
While the goal of preventing injuries is commendable, it is crucial to contextualize the alarming statistics. Despite the doubling of accidents, the number of injuries per year still accounts for a relatively small percentage of young people driving or being a passenger in A-traktors, approximately 250.
Nonetheless, the recently introduced government measures to enforce stricter regulations seem reasonable and long overdue. It is common sense, even without formal regulations, that seat belts should be used, and passengers should only occupy designated seats in A traktors. Although these vehicles typically have two or three seats, including the driver's seat, it is common for passengers to exceed the intended capacity and share seats.
Basic traffic knowledge dictates the use of seat belts and adherence to passenger limits. However, it is well known that teenagers do not always consider the potential consequences of their actions.
In addition, it is essential to establish a maximum speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour for A-traktors. This may seem peculiar since A-traktors, by definition, should not be capable of exceeding this speed.
The occasional modification of these vehicles to reach higher speeds effectively transforms them into passenger cars, which young individuals with only a moped license are not permitted to drive. The challenge lies not in the absence of rules but in the practical enforcement of existing regulations.
Moreover, it is worth contemplating whether the speed limit should be higher to harmonize regulations across different vehicle types. Young people are allowed to drive mopeds and moped cars at speeds of 45 kilometers per hour, despite these vehicles offering less protection than converted passenger cars in the event of an accident, where the driver's only safeguards are a helmet or a plastic shell. Yet, A traktors tend to receive more criticism, perhaps due to their perceived risk for young people and their potential to distract other drivers.
A-tractors not only contribute to accidents but also provide young people with greater freedom and expanded horizons. However, this must occur safely, and the new government rules are more advantageous than detrimental. Nevertheless, without adequate supervision to ensure compliance, these regulations are likely to prove ineffective. Ensuring adherence to these rules is not solely the responsibility of the public but also of parents and other adults who should not disregard their children making vehicle modifications and violating traffic rules.
An A-traktor is a loophole vehicle for young teenagers to drive. In Sweden the minimum driving age is 18 years old.
However, as the A-traktor is officially registered as a farm tractor, a license for one can be had at the age of 15.
The vehicle must be altered to have a maximum speed of 30 kilometres per hour.
The only requirement is a moped licence, available from the age of 15, or a farm tractor licence, from 16.