The European Commission plans to punish drivers for traffic offences committed abroad in their home countries.
Currently, foreign drivers account for only 5% of traffic in most countries but for a far higher proportion of offences than home drivers.
For example, 15% of all speeding offences are caused by this 5% of traffic, but most of these drivers are unpunished because they cannot face prosecution once they have crossed borders.
Now, new EU laws will remove this protection.
European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport said. ” “The four big killers like speeding and drunk driving are still responsible for thousands of needless deaths on Europe’s roads, and each death shatters a family’s life.
“We know that a foreign driver is three times more likely to commit an offence than a resident driver. These new rules should have a powerful deterrent effect and change behaviour.
“Many people still seem to think that when they go abroad the rules no longer apply to them. My message is that they do apply and now we are going to apply them.”
The new proposal will target the ‘big four’ traffic offences that are responsible for 75% of deaths on the roads –
- Failing to stop at traffic lights
- Failing to wear seatbelts
- Drink driving
The new directive will also include:
- Driving under influence of drugs
- Failing to wear safety helmets
- Illegal use of an emergency lane
- Illegal use of mobile phone while driving
For motorists, UK driving licences will bear points for offences committed within other countries the EU and make them reportable to insurance companies. This could push up the cost of cover for many drivers who have so far escaped their poor driving without any financial consequences.
The proposals do not harmonise penalties, so a British motorist caught drink driving in Italy would receive a fine and a driving ban according to UK law.