EU Introduce New Laws To Allow All Member States To Chase Motoring Fines

Sunday, 19. April 2015

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It now seems that you are more likely to suffer a speeding fine when travelling abroad than in the UK. It was a few years ago when the DVLA became obliged to provide driver details if a Brit was caught speeding, or committing any other vehicle related crime, in another EU member country.

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But you only received a fine if you were stopped by roadside police, you would not receive a fine if caught on a speed camera. But that is about to change. The European Parliament has now voted in favour of new laws that give police forces on the Continent the power to track drivers home and pursue payment of fines.

Authorities in any member EU country can now use the number plate picked up by the speed camera to identify the driver and his home address then issue the fine and even take court action if the fine remains unpaid. As it goes I don’t know too many people who nip across to France simply to put the Ford Focus through its paces on a French motorway, sticking two fingers out of the car window as yet another speed camera catches them exceeding the motorway limit.

In fact quite the opposite, for at least half their trip, as the car strains to get much beyond 30 mph as it carts back to the Ferry 40 cases of the mega hypermarket’s finest red ‘for personal use only’. What I do see, living not that far from Dover, is cars and trucks with foreign plates breaking just about every law going so I was pleased to see that the laws apply across Europe so we will be able to pursue foreign drivers breaking the law in the UK.

The new laws that come into force in May include offences such as speeding, ignoring red lights, drink & drug driving and using a mobile phone. In the past the only offence that could be pursued was speeding. Whilst the new laws come into effect in May the DVLA has been given a 2 year extension to adapt their systems before it is legally bound to share data on UK drivers caught abroad. At the moment the laws only relate to fines but next year the EU is looking into harmonising penalty points.

If this comes about it means that UK drivers could end up losing their licences through breaking the law abroad. Our roads minister, Robert Goodwill (no I’d never heard of him either) has said we will oppose such a move and we would vote against such a move. This whole issue raises questions over data protection. We like to think that our systems in the UK are robust but what happens when data is requested by other EU countries, could the information be used for other purposes? A question that hasn’t been answered. By Graham Hill

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