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.