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EU ministers back cross-border road safety enforcement

Thursday 9th October 2014

EU transport ministers last week (8 Oct) approved new rules on cross-border enforcement of traffic offences such as speeding which could save “hundreds of lives” each year.

In effect, the change is a legal technicality to put right rules introduced in November 2013, which the European Court of Justice (ECJ) subsequently found were adopted on an incorrect legal basis. The ECJ said the current law could remain in effect until May 2015 to give time for new legislation to be agreed.

The news has been welcomed by the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL) and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “These rules mean that 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.”

Aidan Reid, TISPOL president, added: “Cross border enforcement is a vital tool for police officers in the road safety work they carry out, and to ensure that there is no more driving away from justice.

“We have already seen examples of cross border enforcement bringing very encouraging results in countries where arrangements for reciprocal sharing of information are already in place. Make no mistake, this law will save hundreds of lives on Europe’s roads each year.”

ETSC says that speeding is a primary factor in about one third of fatal collisions and an aggravating factor in all collisions where it occurs.

According to the European Commission, non-resident drivers account for approximately 5% of road traffic in the EU but are responsible for 15% of detected speeding offences.

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I read it many years ago and it struck me then how, if you put your mind to it, you could come up with negative aspects of just about anything, limited by one's imagination. It's all 'could's and 'if's I'm afraid, and nothing really noteworthy. Campaigners on a mission are often forced to rely on conjecture where there is nothing of substance.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Hugh
Some can be witnessed on most journeys (eg race away after a camera), some have been confirmed in official government reports (eg distraction), others become apparent by thinking about, or observing how drivers behave in the presence of hazards. I could not do Paul Smith's "40 Negatives" report justice in a short posting - you need to read it before knocking it or going into denial.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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+1

No Eric, actually I haven't measured the overall results of speed enforcement because as I say, it can't be measured - see?

With regard to:
it replaces sound road safety engineering;
it distorts driver priorities;
it skews risk compensation;
it generates false safety beliefs from over-simplified messages (eg below limit is safe);
it causes distraction;
it encourages "race away" behaviour;
it leads to more lawless drivers (false plates, etc).

...did you 'seek any evidence' for any of that? No? of course you didn't.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Hugh
Your statement was that the "overall benefit [of speed enforcement] cannot be measured" but then everything else you say is as if you have measured it and it is positive but offer nothing to support your position. That is wishful thinking. Paul Smith was an engineer, like many other contributors on this website. We seek evidence and argument for the effects of interventions.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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+1

On the contrary Eric, my lastest posting is a perfect example of a true statement, but one which you don't happen to like.

Incidentally, why do you often refer to, or quote, Mr Smith, whose field of expertise, I believe, was electronics and IT, but at the same time you are not prepared to asccept what is said on this and other related subjects by people on this forum with far more relevant qualifications, experience and expertise?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+4

Hugh
Your latest posting is a perfect example of wishful thinking. On the contrary, the late Paul Smith identified 40 negative effects of speed enforcement including:
it replaces sound road safety engineering;
it distorts driver priorities;
it skews risk compensation;
it generates false safety beliefs from over-simplified messages (eg below limit is safe);
it causes distraction;
it encourages "race away" behaviour;
it leads to more lawless drivers (false plates, etc).

And many of those apply to all drivers on the road, and at places distant from camera placements. The negatives far outweigh the positives.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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Eric:
As I've said to Idris on another thread, their overall benefit cannot be measured but that could be said for traffic law enforcement and road safety education generally as they are open-ended i.e. individuals' subsequent road behaviour 'post message' can't easily be monitored.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Hugh - No speed, no collisions - we can all agree on that.

The question is whether speed enforcement has a positive effect on road safety and, if so, can it save hundreds of lives. The evidence for the former is weak; the evidence for the latter is founded on wishful thinking.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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Eric:
That wasn't really my question, but no matter, I would refer you to the last two sentences in Rod's last comment which explains the role of speed in collisions.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Hugh:
The evidence to support my view is in the investigation of incidents, especially fatal ones which are the most thorough. Invariably, the root cause is found to be one of the factors I mentioned (tiredness, drink/drugs, perhaps lack of maturity) which lead to poor judgement, loss of concentration and so on. Hence, the claims for hundreds of lives to be saved through this activity are without foundation.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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-3

How would Eric know that someone who breaks the speed limit is 'otherwise law-abiding'? Has he met them all? What makes someone conscientious enough to comply with all traffic laws - apart from one which is the most noticeable and most enforced? Observe some speeders and you'll see how other aspects of their driving is lacking.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+1

Rod
Even if you are correct, it is never the case that "speeding" by an otherwise law-abiding driver is the root cause of the incident. The root cause being either misjudgement or tiredness (which lead to lack of concentration, poor observation, etc) or unlawful activity (drink/drugs, stolen vehicle, etc) and hence enforcing speeding such that lawful drivers do not exceed a number on a sign will not prevent collisions or casualties. Death and injuries can be prevented only by tacking the root causes.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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Idris
The actual text said "ETSC says that speeding is a primary factor in about one third of fatal collisions and an aggravating factor in all collisions where it occurs."

That is entirely consistent with your 14-15% where speeding is a cause. Whist speed may not cause a collision it is often a factor in why a collision cannot be avoided. It is implicated in almost all collisions and in the severity of almost all casualties, particularly those that are fatal.
Rod King 20's Plenty for Us

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+2

Ever since 2005 when accident causation data was first published as part of Stats19, the proportion of fatal accidents in which speeds above limits were considered to have been either "likely" or "possible" (which in effect means "not impossible") has been around 14% to 15% - and I don't see any reason it would be much different on the Continent. Why, therefore, have these officials chosen to quote twice the number? Nor is there the slightest prospect of these measures, involving penalties long after the event, reducing fatalities by hundreds every year.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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0

People may want to review the Directive itself, not the press release. The title of the Directive is 'Facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences'. It is about finding the details of the vehicle owner/ keeper, which is an important element of any enforcement activity, but only an element. I think the press release, then lifted onto this forum, for whatever reason, chooses to present the scope of the directive as something rather more.
Iain Greenway

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+1

Bob:
Are you suggesting that it's time to stop the unfairness in the system and start direct vehicle confiscation in the UK?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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-1

I can't believe that this has come out at the same time as the national papers reported on hundreds of thousands of pounds lost because we are so bad at following up on unpaid fines from foreigners whilst we are helping other EU authorities to punish our own who commit offences overseas.

Plus our citizens are taken forthwith to banks for immediate payment of fines under threat of vehicle confiscation. But not here as offenders are allowed to go on their way undisturbed probably just given a verbal warning, full well in the knowledge that if given a ticket the penalty will not be paid. Now is that fair?
bob craven Lancs

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+4

"grossly exaggerated" Dave?

"...prosecute millions of foreigners for alleged speeding is unlikely to save a single life and may even cause more deaths"? "Millions"? "alleged"? "unlikely"? "may"?

In other words - not actually known for sure.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+1

Why is it deemed necessary to claim grossly exaggerated benefits, while at the same time ignoring likely negative side effects? Allowing governments to remotely prosecute millions of foreigners for alleged speeding is unlikely to save a single life and may even cause more deaths, It is also almost certain to result in a significant level of corruption and injustice. There may be some benefits to be gained by implementing these powers, but why can't the authorities be honest about their likely effect (both positive and negative)?
Dave Finney, Slough

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