RAC Cars News


EU Tackles Foreign Speeders

By raccars Published

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EU transport ministers met this week to confirm the implementation of new regulations that will help countries to track down foreign drivers who commit motoring offences while travelling abroad. The new regulations were proposed this summer after a ruling by the European Court of Justice in May this year, deeming the existing policy, as determined last November, not legally binding. It could take until May next year to finalise the implementation of the new regulations.

The new rules should mean that drivers of foreign registered cars can be pursued on home territory to be penalised for traffic offences committed while abroad. Under current rules, it is almost impossible to enforce motoring offences across international borders, as the DVLA has no way of tracing vehicles registered abroad. This means not only that foreign drivers feel able to commit potentially dangerous driving offences with impunity but also that thousands of speeding tickets and other traffic penalties go unpaid in Britain when incurred by drivers who then return home to foreign countries.

A recent report by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, revealed that 23,295 speeding fines incurred by foreign registered cars have gone unpaid since January 2013 in the UK, adding up to nearly £2.3 million.

The IAM was able to compile the data through a freedom of information request submitted to UK police forces. The DVLA has previously been unable to trace foreign registered cars once they leave the UK but the new rules will enable cross border co-operation.

The highest number of offences committed by foreign drivers was in the Thames Valley area, where 3,580 speeding offences and a top speed of 102mph within a 70mph zone were recorded. 2,477 offences were recorded in Merseyside, along with a highest speed of 87mph within a 70mph zone. Foreign drivers in Warwickshire committed 2,152 offences and in Gwent, in Wales, 2,090 offences and a 99mph top speed in a 70mph zone were recorded. Kent recorded the fifth highest number of motoring offences by foreign drivers at 1,954.

The IAM report also mentioned a foreign motorist in Surrey recorded doing 109mph within a 50mph zone and one on the M25 in Kent recorded travelling at 111mph.

The same rules that will allow the DVLA to pursue foreign drivers outside Britain will of course mean that the same is possible in reverse and that drivers of British registered cars committing traffic offences in other EU countries will find they can still be penalised once they have returned home.

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