When driving in Europe, it’s wrong to assume that because you’re not at home, you’ll be less likely to be charged for a driving offence. Road safety is important wherever you are and, in true EU spirit, member states will soon be able to share information on all drivers, enabling them to pursue speeding fines, no matter where you happen to be.
A revision in the law states that all countries in the European Union must comply with cross-border rules, meaning you could be caught on one of many speed cameras and return home from your holidays to find a fine in your letterbox. It will even be written in English, so there will be no avoiding the charges either.
Currently, if you are caught on the spot you are issued with a fine but evidence from speed cameras cannot be acted upon to pursue you when you return home. But not for long – member countries have until May 2015 to implement the new legislation, while the deadline has been extended to May 2017 for the UK, Ireland and Denmark.
The cross-border control covers eight driving offences:
- Speeding (currently 15 per cent of EU speeding offences are committed by non-residents)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Jumping red lights
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Not wearing a helmet on a motorbike
- Driving on the hard shoulder
- Using a mobile phone while driving
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council, says: “These rules mean foreign-registered drivers are no longer able to ignore traffic laws safe in the knowledge that they won’t be penalised when they return home. They are a smart way of deterring people from dangerous driving when they go abroad but will also help member states follow up on traffic offences when drivers put other people’s lives at risk.”