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Overseas drivers escape thousands of speeding offences

Research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has revealed that oversees drivers have escaped 23,295 speeding offences since January 2013 – the equivalent of £2.3m worth of speeding tickets.

The figures were revealed following a freedom of information request to police authorities, which asked how many oversees motorists had been caught by speed cameras across England and Wales. As foreign vehicles are not registered with the DVLA these speeding offences are not pursued.

The highest number of oversees speeding offences was seen in Thames Valley, with a reported 3,580 offences and the highest speed recording of 102mph in a 70mph zone. Meanwhile the top recorded speed came in from Kent on the M25 with the highest speed of 111mph in a 70mph zone.

The research follows the announcement earlier this year that UK councils are writing off millions of pounds worth of unpaid parking due to being unable to trace drivers of foreign vehicles, as revealed by a poll by the Local Government Association (LGA).

EU rules allow European vehicles to drive on UK roads for six months before having to register with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). However, the Government does not keep a record of the estimated three million entering the UK each year.

Earlier this year the UK government was urged to support a modified law on cross-border enforcement of traffic offences such as speeding.

The modified rules have been published by the European Commission and would allow police across the EU to pursue traffic offences against drivers of vehicles registered in another member state, fixing the current situation whereby non-resident drivers are able to escape prosecution for risky driving offences such as speeding.

Previously, the UK, Republic of Ireland and Denmark have opted out of the EU directive.

IAM’s director of policy and research Neil Greig said: ‘The high numbers of oversees speeders on our roads show how important it is that the UK joins up with the rest of Europe to harmonise motoring offences and give the police extra powers to pursue dangerous drivers. Progress on this issue has been very slow and in the meantime thousands of drivers are avoiding fines and bans simply because their cars cannot be easily traced.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.