Europe's reckless drivers to face cross-border prosecution

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Motorists who drive recklessly as soon as they cross the border, as statistics show is often the case, will be tracked down across the EU's 27 nations, the European Union said Thursday.

While foreign drivers account for only five percent of traffic on Europe's roads, they notably account for 15 percent of speeding offences, European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said.

"If you are that speeding driver, I have bad news. It's going to stop", he said.

Drivers currently pulled over by foreign police for traffic offences feel safe as it is difficult for officers to check car registration through the motorist's home country computer.

"Too many people have been driving through that loophole," Kallas said. "These new rules will solve that problem."

Proposals for sharing information across the European Union were adopted by justice ministers Thursday to target offences including what the commission called the four "big killers" behind 75 percent of road fatilities.

Kallas listed the four as speeding, drink driving, failing to wear a seatbelt and failing to stop at traffic lights.

With 100 people killed each day on Europe's roads, the EU hopes to bring other offences into the new framework - driving under the influence of drugs, failing to wear safety helmets, illegal use of an emergency lane and illegal use of a mobile phone while driving.

In France, non-residents can be responsible for up to 40 percent of all speeding offences during the peak tourist season.

However, drivers who pick up parking fines while abroad, almost never followed up, will not be pursued under plans to share vehicle registration data across EU member states borders.

The national law of the state where the offence is committed would take precedence under the proposal, the EU stressed.

However, the draft law will only deal with financial penalties, the commission adding that "penalty points linked with a driving licence and withdrawing of a driving licence are not dealt with."

If the national governments give the green light, a legislative proposal must be approved by lawmakers in the European Parliament before becoming law, with a two-year period for states to implement the changes.

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