With the summer season drawing to a close, many holidaymakers will be left wondering whether they’re about to receive a motoring fine for an offence committed while driving abroad.
Find out what might – or might not – be dropping through your letterbox soon.
Can I check if I have been caught speeding abroad?
Sadly, there is no database you can search to see if you have been snapped speeding while driving on the Continent or beyond. However, you can read on to find out what to expect if you have been caught speeding or committing another such motoring offence.
EU Laws will change soon on how Brits committing offences are treated so make sure you’re fully aware of how they impact on you. These come into force in 2017, so will be relevant ahead of Britain leaving the EU and could still apply afterwards. Read on for all the details you need…
At-a-glance guide to getting motoring tickets abroad before May 2017
A camera flashed when I was driving in France… when will the ticket arrive: Short answer to this one… if you were driving your own car, it won’t! The UK will not share your details with anyone else (apart from authorities in Ireland and the Isle of Man). However this is soon to change – so keep reading
Does that apply to all tickets: No. Curiously, you won’t get chased for motoring offences such as speeding and entering a forbidden lane, but you will get pursued for civil offences such as parking tickets. Foreign authorities hunt you down through debt collection agencies who do have access to your details. Ignoring these demands can end in tears if you want to revisit the country where money is owed. Appealing these cases is notoriously difficult and usually has to be done in the local language. It’s likely you’ll be contacted by one of the following if you are chased over a civil ticket…
European Municipality Outsourcing
Euro Parking Collection
So, I won’t ever get a speeding ticket while abroad: For the moment you won’t, but a new EU directive forcing countries to divulge information on drivers who’ve committed traffic offences came into effect in May of this year. England was given a two-year opt-out, so expect to get tickets from May 2017. It’s not clear if the Brexit vote will affect this, but it’s possible that it will remain the case even after we leave the EU.
Additionally… you are likely to get fined if you are stopped at the scene of an offence. Local cops can demand an on-the-spot payment in many places, while serious offences can result in your licence being revoked on the spot.
What if I am driving a hire car: Drivers who contravene local laws while driving hire cars (hired in the host country) can expect to pay the money on the card the car was booked with. Check your hire car agreement for how the firm approaches such issues and whether it offers you the chance to appeal before the penalty is paid. Local issuing authorities will have to contact you within 360 days from when the hire car company gives your details.
Will I get penalty points if caught while driving a hire car: No. You’ll get the fine, but bans and penalty points are not enforceable in the UK.
At-a-glance guide to getting motoring tickets abroad from May 2017
So, while most Brits will avoid tickets for the next couple of years, 2017 will see a big change. Here’s what you should expect.
What will EU countries be able to send penalties for: In order to receive details of a Brit motorist, the driver will need to have committed one of the following offences:
|3.||=||Failing to use a seat belt|
|4.||=||Failing to stop at a red traffic light|
|5.||=||Use of a forbidden lane|
|10.||=||Driving under the influence of drugs|
|11.||=||Failing to wear a safety helmet|
|12.||=||Illegally using a mobile phone or any other communication devices while driving|
What if I disagree with the penalty charge: All charges must be sent on a standard template, which gives you the opportunity to admit or deny the offence and set out your reasons. The issuing state will then need to respond with a decision within 60 days.
Will the fines be the same as in the UK: No. You will have to pay the same as drivers registered in the country where the offence was committed. Have a look at how much you could pay in France
Will I get penalty points like in the UK after the change: No – but watch this space. The Euro-bods are busy looking at the possibility of doing just that. Make sure you stay up to date on this one.
I only speak English – how will I understand any penalty charge: The letter detailing the offence must be written in the main language of where the offending car is registered.
Where can I find out about speed limits and driving rules in other countries: Make sure you do your homework by visiting this site.
I’ve got nothing better to do for several days, where can I read the full EU directive: If watching paint dry no longer gives you a buzz, simply read the EU directive in full right here
Please note: This is for information only and is neither intended to condone or promote dangerous and illegal driving in foreign countries. Drivers should always respect local laws.