Brussels is watching you

French Police

If you are about to go on holiday to Europe and intend to drive then you had better make sure you stay within the law, Brussels is watching you! British motorists can now be pursued through the European courts if they are caught committing any of a variety of motoring offences whilst driving on the continent, new powers granted to the police across Europe will allow them the right to access details of British drivers from our very own Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This latest clamp down by Brussels is the result of a ruling by the European Court of Justice and is due to begin within the year, the UK had opted out but the ruling meant that this opt out was overturned. This new ruling unfortunately has not taken into account the fact that driving laws and restrictions differ across the whole of Europe, along with levels of enforcement and penalties. British motoring groups, such as the AA, have described the ruling as a nightmare, Edmund King, President of the AA said “Our Government should indeed oppose this at all costs. It’s a nightmare. It opens up a hornets’ nest.” He also said “There is not a level playing field across Europe in terms of penalties and regulations and levels of enforcement.” He added “Here in Britain we have speed awareness courses for first-time speeders. Other countries don’t.” The AA have also suggested that there is already evidence of French police targeting British drivers, pointing to the disproportionate number of speed cameras that can be found on roads leading to channel ports. So which particular offences are included in this latest Brussels clamp down? If you are caught on camera whilst committing offences including those such as speeding, failing to stop for a red light and using a mobile phone whilst driving you will receive a fine through the post, if you do not pay the fine then the matter may well be pursued through the European courts. Under current rules a British motorist who commits a motoring offence whilst on the European continent can only be fined by the police if they have been actually pulled over by a police officer, the officer would be able to issue a fixed penalty or even insist the offender accompany him/her to the nearest ATM to pay the fine immediately. The current rules do not extend to British motorists who commit motoring offences that are caught on camera. The European Commission said “The measure will also mean UK police forces can collect fines due from drivers from other parts of Europe.”

Special thanks Shaun Dunmall for providing the image.