RAC Cars News


New Law To Catch Foreign Speeders

By raccars Published

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A new law is to be instated meaning that not only will British police be able to track down foreign registered cars caught speeding in the UK, but also that British cars caught speeding abroad can be traced by European police.

At the moment, British drivers who are caught speeding by cameras while abroad usually escape punishment, unless they are stopped by police at the roadside, and the same applies to foreign registered cars caught breaking the speed limit in the UK. This is because of a lack of co-operation between European police forces and driving agencies, such as the DVLA, which have not worked together to share car registration and owner details.

However, the European Parliament has now passed legislation that allows member states to track down speeding drivers across international borders. The law was voted for by 915 of MEPs and is part of an initiative to halve road deaths and serious injuries in the EU by 40%, by the end of the decade.

Authorities will now be able to track foreign cars by their registration plate to issue penalty notices and even court summons at their home address. According to the French government, every year about half a million traffic offences are committed by English drivers in France.

However, transport and justice officials are concerned that the UK's already overburdened justice system could struggle to cope with the new legislation, which would see other countries go through British courts to punish offenders. The new law covers not only speeding but all traffic offences, including running red lights, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and using a mobile phone at the wheel. On the plus side, UK police forces will, in return, be able to track down foreign drivers caught committing traffic offences in the UK.

The law is due to take effect this May, internationally, but British drivers have been given a grace period, as the DVLA has requested an exemption to sharing its driver data until 2017, claiming it needs the time to adapt its system.

The EU is expected to extend the legislation next year to homogenise Europe's penalty points system, which could see drivers who commit traffic offences abroad not only fined but also at risk of losing their licence. MP Robert Goodwill, however, claims that the UK is against this policy in the interests of protecting UK driver privacy.

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