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Holiday drivers should get up to speed on new EU rules

 

Article date:  01/04/2015

With the first signs of Spring upon us and the first major holidays of the year just around the corner, many of us may be thinking of getting away from it all for a well deserved break.

But Britons thinking of taking their car across the Channel or those with holiday homes on the continent should be aware of a new law that comes into force this year.

"A change in the law anticipated in May means that where a driver is caught on a speed camera whilst driving abroad, they can still receive a fine even when they have left that country," explains Catherine Junor, an expert in motoring offences at Higgs & Sons solicitors.

"Current legislation only allows for drivers to be fined when caught on the spot as evidence from speed cameras cannot be acted upon to pursue drivers on their return home. However the revision expected to come into force in May states that all countries in the European Union must comply with cross-border rules."

Estimates suggest up to 500,000 offences a year are committed by British drivers in France alone and there are concerns that the legislation will place a significant burden on UK courts.

"The cross-border control covers eight driving offences including speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone," continues Catherine who is Head of the Motoring & Private Criminal team at the Midlands based solicitors.

"Drivers may be unaware they have been caught on camera, and could be in for a nasty surprise when they return home. Notifications will be in English so there will be no excuse for avoiding the potential charges."

Expected from May, all 28 EU member states will be able to share information on drivers, enabling them to pursue fines for the following offences: 

  • Speeding (currently 15 per cent of EU speeding offences are committed by non-residents)
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Jumping red lights
  • Not wearing a seat belt
  • Not wearing a helmet on a motorbike
  • Driving on the hard shoulder
  • Using a mobile phone while driving

"Anyone who is due to visit the continent, or those who may have a holiday home in one of the EU member states would be wise to familiarise themselves with this anticipated new law, rather than face an unexpected souvenir of their holiday when they return home," cautions Catherine Junor.

Catherine Junor's work in the field of motoring offences is nationally recognised, representing amongst others, clients from the business and sports sectors. She is one of the select few solicitors in the West Midlands to have been repeatedly recommended in her field in Legal 500. For more information contact catherine.junor@higgsandsons.co.uk

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