The European Parliament has approved a new law enabling police to enforce penalties on foreign motorists who break traffic rules.
The new rules cover offences including speeding, drink driving, using a mobile phone at the wheel and ignoring red lights.
The law will come into effect in most EU countries later this year, but Denmark, Ireland and the UK will have two additional years to implement it, after opting-out of an earlier version.
The move has been welcomed by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network, who say the new law is expected to save “at least 400 lives a year”.
ETSC says non-resident drivers account for approximately 5% of road traffic in the EU but are responsible for 15% of speeding offences.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “Today’s vote will help put an end to the injustice of foreign drivers escaping traffic penalties while locals get punished for the same offence.
“This is a long overdue change. The deterrent effect is important, knowing that you can be caught plays a key role in preventing dangerous driving.”
Ruth Purdie, TISPOL general secretary, added: “The next step will be to improve enforcement of traffic laws across the EU, starting with minimum standards for large-scale, regular and visible police enforcement actions on the three main causes of death: speeding, failure to wear a seat belt and drink driving.”