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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.