Sunday, 8 March 2015

British motorists could be stripped of licences under new EU laws . . .


British motorists could be stripped of licences under new EU laws

  • The European Commission is proposing to 'harmonise penalty points' in move which could see British motorists stripped of their licences if they are caught speeding while they are abroad

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British motorists caught speeding abroad face fines and even penalty points under new EU laws 

British motorists caught speeding or committing other motoring offences in Europe will face fines and could even lose their licences under new EU laws.

At present motorists using their own vehicles abroad avoid punishment if they are caught by speed cameras. They only face fines if they are stopped by a police officer at a roadside.

The European Parliament is on Wednesday expected to vote in favour of new measures that will give police forces the power to issue fines across Europe and to pursue offenders in courts abroad.

The new rules are expected to be supported by the vast majority of MEPs, and cover penalties for speeding, ignoring red lights, drink and drug driving and driving while using a mobile phone.

Next year the European Commission will also, under the same legislation, review whether it should introduce “harmonisation of penalty points”, under which motorists who commit motoring offences abroad will get points on their licence.

Robert Goodwill, the roads minister, has said that the plans for transferring penalty points are “inappropriate” and would be opposed by Britain.

A Conservative source said: "A Conservative government would ensure these proposals do not see the light of day. Only a Conservative government will give the British people a referendum on membership of the European Union."

Under the new rules for traffic fines, which will come into force in 2017 in Britain, authorities in foreign countries will be able to use a car’s registration plates to find out who the owner is, and where they live. They can then send letters demanding payment and threatening court action if payment is refused. British police will also be able to use the legislation to pursue foreign drivers who commit offences in Britain.

The Bill will apply to the rest of Europe from May, but Britain has been given two extra years so that the DVLA can update its systems. A Department For Transport spokesperson said: “It must not be easier for British drivers to be prosecuted abroad than for foreign drivers to be prosecuted in the UK; we have made this clear from the outset of the negotiations.”

Mr Goodwill said: "We will defend the rights of British drivers and we have been clear throughout the negotiations that people’s private data must be protected. Nothing in the new directive will allow a country to impose penalty points on the licence of a driver from another member state. The government will oppose any such proposal.”

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