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British drivers to face stiff fines for motoring offences in Europe

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May 15, 2017
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British drivers who previously got away with speeding and committing other motoring offences in Europe will face stiff fines under new rules which have now come into effect.

For the first time, UK drivers who get caught by speed cameras on the continent can be tracked down and will face fines of up to £640.

But Europeans caught speeding in the UK cannot be pursued by British police.

The move comes as millions of British families are planning summer holidays across Europe.

Motoring offences in Europe.

New rules cover eight motoring offences in Europe

The EU directive will cover eight motoring offences including speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and using a phone while driving.

Previously, UK motorists could be fined in Europe only if they were stopped by police and issued with a fixed penalty charge at the roadside or they were in a hire car.

It is estimated that in just one year, half a million UK motorists will face prosecution for driving offences in France alone.

Under the new rules, EU governments can access vehicle ownership records held by other countries, which can then be used to prosecute offences carried out in foreign-registered cars.

In at least 14 EU countries, including France, the vehicle owner is liable for fines, even if they were not driving at the time of the offence.

UK police “no power to fine drivers from the EU”

In the UK however, the responsibility lies with drivers rather than registered car owners. That means UK police will have no power to fine drivers from the EU.

The rules were introduced across much of the EU in 2015, but the UK, Ireland and Denmark were given a two-year exemption, which has now expired.

It is estimated that almost £2 million is lost each year in fines which are not paid by drivers from the EU who commit offences on British roads.

Rules may change after Brexit

The Government has hinted it will revoke the powers after Brexit. A spokesman at The Department of Transport said: “While the UK is still a member of the EU, we are obliged to bring in rules on cross-border enforcement.

“Once we have left the EU, our Parliament will have the power to amend the law.”

Adrian Flux has years of experience insuring people for driving trips abroad. Here is their experts’ guide to safe driving in Europe.

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