Council makes headway with Cross-Border Enforcement Directive
The position, together with the statement of the Council's reasons, will now be sent to the European Parliament for a second reading. Transport ministers had already reached agreement in principle on the draft act at their meeting last December.
The main objective of the new Directive is to introduce a system of exchanging information to enable the follow up of road safety related traffic offences committed by non-resident drivers. This would cover traffic offences including speeding, non-use of a seat belt, failing to stop at a red light, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, failing to wear a safety helmet, use of a forbidden lane (such as emergency or public transport lanes), and illegally using a mobile phone while driving, and this list could be extended in the future.
The news has been greeted by the European Transport Safety Council. ETSC executive director Antonio Avenoso said: 'We are happy that Member States’ representatives took this important next step towards improving the safety of citizens across the EU. The formal adoption by the Council of the Common Position on the Cross-Border Enforcement Directive paves the way toward solving a long-standing issue for road safety in the EU.'
Mr Avenoso said that the Council decision shows real commitment to improving road safety; despite the setback of the UK’s decision to delay its opt-in procedure. The UK, as well as Ireland, decided earlier this month not to sign up to the directive at this stage, saying that it woud have 'imposed significant costs on the UK'.
However Mr Avenoso warned that the Council and European Parliament will now have to reach an agreement on a common text. He said: 'Strong efforts are now needed from both the Hungarian Presidency on behalf of the EU Council and the European Parliament to reach what ETSC hopes will be a swift agreement. The final outcome should maximise the potential for this directive to fulfil its main objective: save lives on Europe’s roads.'
According to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the directive will bring significant improvements for road safety in the EU. Across the EU foreign drivers make up only 5% of traffic but 15% of speeding offences.