MEPs give green light to cross-border directive
EU figures suggest that foreign drivers account for 5% of traffic but around 15% of speeding offences. Most go unpunished, with countries unable to pursue drivers once they return home.
This would be remedied under a directive on cross-border enforcement, which would target traffic offences with a critical impact on road safety, including the four "big killers" causing 75% of road fatilities: speeding, failure to stop at traffic lights, failure to wear seatbelts and drink driving. In addition drug driving, failure to wear safety helmets, illlegal use of an emergency lane and illegal use of mobile phone while driving would also be targeted.
The proposals would enable EU drivers to be identified and thus prosecuted for offences committed in a member state other than then one where their vehicle is registered. This would be carried out through an electronic data exchange network.
Commenting on today's vote in the European Parliament, European Commission vice-president Siim Kallas, responsible for Transport, said: 'The four big killers like speeding and drunk driving are still responsible for thousands of needless deaths on Europe's roads, and each death shatters a family's life. We know that a foreign driver is three times more likely to commit an offence than a resident driver. These new rules should have a powerful deterrent effect and change behaviour. Many people still seem to think that when they go abroad the rules no longer apply to them. My message is that they do apply and now we are going to apply them.'
The legislative proposals need final approval by member state governments before becoming law – this should happen in the coming weeks.There is then a two-year period for member states to transpose EU legislation before it comes into force, possibly by 2013.