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Traffic offences abroad: no hiding place

EU states will soon be swapping car registration details regularly to track down drivers who have committed serious traffic offences while in another EU country, after Parliament gave its backing to the plans on 6 July.

The new directive will improve road safety and make all offenders equal before the law, including those living outside the country where they commit an offence.

“After more than three years of debate, this agreement is a first, very important step towards ending the sense of impunity by some drivers and reducing the number of casualties on our roads”, said rapporteur Inés Ayala Sender.

Rules in a nutshell
EU Member States will have to provide details of the driver or holder of the vehicle registration certificate to the authorities of the country where the offence took place. These will then send the offender a strictly private registered letter informing him/her of the offence committed as well as any punishment due, appeal procedures and legal consequences. Any fine and payment method will be based on the law of the state where the offence occurred.

Parliament backed its Transport Committee’s proposal for tighter data privacy and for files on offenders to be compulsorily deleted once a case is closed.

Target of the directive: the most dangerous road offences
The offences covered by the new rules are speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, not wearing seatbelts, going through a red light, not wearing crash helmets, using bus lanes and other banned thoroughfares and illegal use of mobile phones or other communication equipment while driving.

Next steps
The directive now needs to be unanimously approved by the Council of Ministers. Member States will then have 24 months to apply the new rules, except for Ireland, the UK and Denmark, which are remaining outside the system for now.

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