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Faites attention! when driving on foreign roads

So this week the EU gave the go-ahead for new plans to crackdown on foreign drivers who commit motoring offences in the UK. Our response was ‘Why hasn’t this happened already?’

Until now, it has been very difficult to hold motorists to account when they are caught speeding, ignoring signals or drink driving in a country that is not their own, which sends out completely the wrong signal. It gives the impression that foreign drivers are above the law and has led to a culture of ‘I can do anything’ developing among some motorists.

As many as 15 percent of all speeding offences on European roads are by foreign drivers which along with drink driving, ignoring signals and not wearing a seatbelt is responsible for three-quarters of all road fatalities in Europe. These are truly shocking numbers and it beggars belief that tougher restrictions on foreign drivers are only just being introduced.

The new system of cross-border driving fines, which will com into force in 2013, will make it easier for all 27 EU member states to swap car registration details if an offence is committed outside a driver’s home country. Fines received by offending drivers will be based on the country of offence, not the driver’s home country, so a French fine if a British driver is caught speeding in France.

These new rules should act as a deterrent and force drivers to realise that no matter which country they are driving in, they are bound by that country’s motoring laws. Although it is likely to take some time before the ‘I can do anything’ culture is reversed and in the short term fleet managers in particular could feel the pinch for the extra expense.

Fleet managers will need to ensure their drivers are well briefed and know that they will be held to account if they break the law abroad or companies could find themselves forking out a lot more in motoring fines.

Our advice? Pack a copy of your holiday destination’s highway code along with your suncream and beach towel next time you venture abroad.


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