Speeding abroad: "Impunity to come to an end"

Motorists breaking the speed limit or violating basic traffic rules in other European countries will actually have to pay their traffic fine. Now, they often escape, but this is bound to change. The European Union has reached an accord to improve the exchange data between the different member countries. However, Britain, Ireland and Denmark are not cooperating.

"In future, drivers who are caught speeding abroad, will automatically be sent a ticket to their home address", Said El Khadraoui, a European MP for Belgium (socialist) explains. "This means that they will actually have to pay the traffic fine, which is mostly not the case nowadays."

This is because it takes a lot of effort from local police to actually find out about the identity of the driver behind a foreign number plate. That is to change as European countries will supply more personal data to each other, making it easier for foreign police to retrieve data. Great Britain, Ireland and Denmark are the only European member states which are not taking part.

European statistics show that motorists driving on foreign territory are neglecting the rules more often as there is a feeling of impunity, Mr Khadraoui explains. "Motorists driving abroad have 3 times more chances to be caught speeding."

Focus on four traffic offences

The new European accord will focus on four types of traffic offences:

  • speeding
  • jumping the red light
  • failure to wear a seat belt
  • drink-driving

These so-called "big killers" account for some 75 percent of all the deadly traffic accidents. However, the European list also includes a number of other offences like not calling hands-free behind the wheel or improper use of the hard shoulder.