Road traffic offenders to be traceable across the EU.

A directive is to be adopted by which the UK becomes party to a system of cross border exchange of information on road traffic offences. The new EU cross boarder enforcement directive was adopted by the European Council on 2 March 15 and will become law in the UK by May 2017.

The Directive will apply to all member states; the UK, Denmark and Ireland did not participate in the previous directive. It will allow member states to access each other’s national vehicle registration databases and to take follow up action when a driver allegedly commits one of eight road safety related offences. These are: – speeding, not wearing a seat belt, failing to stop at a red light, drink driving, driving whist under the influence of drugs, not wearing a motor cycle safety helmet, using a forbidden lane and illegal use of a mobile phone or other communication device whilst driving.

The procedure will be for the registered keeper of the vehicle to receive a letter from the authorities of the member state in which the alleged offence took place, detailing the offence, the consequences of committing the offence in that country and details of the financial penalty due. The recipient then has 60 days to acknowledge that he is the registered keeper, or give details of who now is the keeper, pay the financial penalty or say why he is disputing the offence. If he does not acknowledge the offence, then the member state authority has 60 days in which to pursue the case and advise the offender of the outcome.

Foreign drivers are three times more likely to commit traffic offences than nationals and in popular holiday areas speeding offences by non-residents can make up over 50% of the speeding offences in the holiday season. Whether though this directive “has teeth”, will remain to be seen.

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