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20th May 2019

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MEPs back cross-border enforcement of driving fines

  • Speeding tickets could soon chase you across the border in the EU (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Parliament transport committee gave on Tuesday (9 September) its green light to a law aimed at identifying and fining drivers, who committ an offence in another EU state.

A total of 49 parliamentarians voted in favour of the plan to deliver more effective cross-border enforcement of penalties. No one voted against, while one MEP abstained.

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According to Spanish Socialist Inez Ayala Sender, stirring the dossier in the European Parliament, the main goal is to put an end to unequal treatment of foreign and local drivers when they have committed similar offences.

The draft legislation's cornerstone is "an electronic data exchange network", which would see EU states swiftly identify the holder of a vehicle registration document and exchange the necessary data linked to traffic offences.

In practice, once an offence is committed, where the vehicle is registered would be identified and the relevant national authority would then send notification of an offence to the owner of the vehicle, requesting payment of the fine.

At this stage, four types of offences - speeding, drink-driving, non-use of a seatbelt and failing to stop at a red traffic light - fall under the scope of the draft law, as they are responsible for 75 percent of road deaths.

But eventually, the European Commission and MEPs are to look into the possibility of extending the law to cover other traffic infringements such as driving under the influence of drugs, using mobile phones while driving and uninsured driving.

The changes are expected to contribute to the EU's overall ambition of reducing the number of people killed on European roads by 50 percent by 2010 - something that the European Commission itself sees as unlikely to be achieved.

In addition, MEPs backed the idea of intensive checks on the roads.

The number of speed controls should be increased by 30 percent in those countries where the fatality rate stands above the EU average, believe euro-deputies. At least 30 percent of all drivers should annually be tested for drinking amounts higher than the legal limit.

Furthermore, the parliamentarians also want checks on wearing a seat belt carried out for at least six weeks a year in countries where non-compliance is high.

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