Brit drivers now face big fines for offences committed on the Continent – full details of new EU Cross-Border Enforcement Directive that’s just come into force

Brit drivers who commit driving offences on the Continent will now face large fines as a new EU directive comes into force.

Here’s all you need to know about the EU Cross-Border Enforcement Directive if heading to Europe this summer.

Continental roads might seem enticing, but failing to observe local laws could now land you with big fines

Continental roads might seem enticing, but failing to observe local laws could now land you with big fines

What is happening?

An all-new EU cross-border directive has come into force for Brits driving on the Continent this summer.

The EU Cross-Border Enforcement Directive is designed to help host countries track down foreign motorists who break laws – and often escape punishment due to international red-tape.

What offences does the new ‘directive’ cover?

The cross-border directive covers the following driving offences:

Not using a seatbelt;
Not stopping at a red traffic light or other mandatory stop signal;
Drink driving;
Driving under the influence of drugs;
Not wearing a safety helmet (for motorcyclists);
Using a forbidden lane (such as the forbidden use of an emergency lane, a lane reserved for public transport, or a lane closed down for road works);
Illegally using a mobile phone, or any other communications device, while driving.

When does the EU Cross Border Enforcement Directive come into force?

It already has. From Saturday, May 6, anyone committing a selection of driving offences (listed above) in EU member states can expect a fine to drop through their letterbox.

The directive has been operation in 23 out of 28 EU states since November last year, but the UK had negotiated a temporary opt-out. That veto has now come to an end, meaning the DVLA will have to reveal your details to foreign authorities accusing you of an offence.

It’s not just illegal in the UK


How will this hit Brit drivers on ther holidays?

Anyone who’s the registered keeper of a car linked to one of the offences listed above in an EU member state will now be at risk of receiving a fine.

Will this also apply to foreign offenders in the UK?

In theory, but the reality may be slightly less clear cut. The directive forces member countries to identify the ‘registered owner’ of the vehicle and not the identity of the driver who actually committed the offence.

This is a problem because the UK – along with the likes of  Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria – operates a sytem called ‘keeper liability’ which means it’s the driver and not the owner who’s responsible. Making it virtually impossible to identify the person who needs to pay the fine.  

However, it could also be the case that the DVLA will not be obliged to track down the driver of UK-registered cars committing offences.


EU countries where the ‘registered owner’ is responsible for offences?

The registered owners of cars recorded committing offences in these countries are likely to be fined.


Countries where the ‘driver’ is responsible for offences?

In these EU member-states, it is the driver who is responsible for offences, meaning that offenders could escape censure. Unlike the UK, there is no compulsion for the vehicle owner to provide the driver’s identity.

Czech Republic

Will I get points on my licence for offences committed while abroad?

No. Penalty points are not transferable or applicable for offences committed on foreign roads.

Will fines be the same as they are in the UK?

No. Offenders will have to pay fines that apply under local law where the violation occurred.

Get up to speed with local driving laws before you leave the UK

Get up to speed with local driving laws before you leave the UK

Do you know the rules in other countries?

It’s likely that you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of EU-wide driving laws, so using the EU’s own tool will help you stay on the right side of the law when motoring abroad. Find the EU driving rules tool here.

What if I am driving a hire car?

While the owner of the hire car will receive the fine, it’s a sure thing the fine will simply be taken from your credit card – with the added pain of a hefty admin fee. Make sure you check the terms and conditions to see just how much you could be liable for in such a situation.

What about Brexit?

Until we leave, the new directive will have to be complied with. Once we say adi-eu, the government will be able to look again.


6 comments for “Brit drivers now face big fines for offences committed on the Continent – full details of new EU Cross-Border Enforcement Directive that’s just come into force

  1. Kaye
    22/06/2018 at 2:50 pm

    My husband was driving in italy got fine for driving in bus lane wasn’t marked at the time. I got the bill. My car is a French car as we live in France… but I noticed on the website for payment that if the country gets the fines out late which stated 1year they have breached the terms… my fines were out off date but even so my husband living in italy had to get a lawyer to argue that point with them… my question is if France takes longer than the year to get the tickets out, will you have to pay as English law I have been told is 4weeks? Totally confusing… for people living in uk… I was also told if my car has fines on in one country that haven’t been paid and you get stopped they can impound your car? Is this also correct?

  2. Kevin O'Neill
    10/06/2018 at 2:19 pm

    Well I was caught by camera for speeding on 3 May 2018 and a fine dropped through m box. There is a problem if one goes away for a 4 week + holiday how does one know they have been fined until returning home when no doubt the fine will increase for non payment?

  3. Mark
    11/05/2018 at 4:35 pm

    I was stopped three times by the same motorcycle policeman in Spain for not using my head light, ( which was on at all times ) at the third stop I was fined 90 Euro’s and told (You Foreigner YOU PAY NOW ).

  4. ian stevenson
    30/05/2017 at 9:40 am

    Under the new laws I was fined 58 euros for parking even though displaying a disabled badge with Belgian translation this was on sunday 21sy may in lokeren the fine had to be paid in cash

  5. Roy Buchanan
    17/05/2017 at 11:52 am

    For the majority of the British drivers this will not be a problem provided that they acquaint themselves with foreign motoring laws. They are not that different from ours The remark, “big fines” is a little alarmist and should not put people off driving abroad. Do bear in mind though that some law enforcement agencies on the Continent can be stricter than in GB. The French Gendarmerie Nationale immediately comes to mind as does the Stadtpolizei in Switzerland. I would like to see an equally robust approach taken against foreign drivers in GB. Also, the driver/owner situation needs clarification.

    My impression is that the big change is in the enforcement through more tenacity in tracing the offender.

    I have driven and motorcycled on the Continent since 1969 and never once been stopped by the police.

  6. graham Fletcher
    15/05/2017 at 1:50 pm

    The sooner we say “Adi-eu” the better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *