French police step up watch on British drivers
UK drivers liable for on-the-spot fines as British Government opts out of EU road safety legislation
Saturday 10 August 2013
British holidaymakers driving in France could be in for an unwelcome surprise as EU legislation coming into force this year would mean that those caught speeding would have to pay on-the-spot fines worth up to £323.
The innocuously-named EU Directive on Road Safety aims to cut down the number of speeding offences in each member state committed by foreign drivers by making it easier for authorities to track the down the car owner to their own country and fine them.
However, Britain, along with Ireland and Denmark, has opted out of the directive, meaning that drivers from the UK caught speeding in France will be made to pay a fine there and then, without any exceptions.
The French police say that many foreign drivers break the speed limit, particularly on motorways like the A64 towards Biarritz and the Pyrenees mountains, because they know they can avoid being fined.
The legislation that comes into force across the 28-nation bloc will allow member states to exchange data on motoring offences.
The UK Government has stayed out of the new cross-border rules because of concerns that the directive means exchanging vehicle owner information, rather than driver information. It argues that often, the offending driver in this type of situation does not own the vehicle. Authorities on this side of the channel have also suggested that fines are a poor deterrent for bad driving, compared with points on a driving licence. The Government also wants to assess the cost of setting up the EU-wide data exchange system before opting in.
Because of the UK's opt-out, the only way British drivers caught speeding in France can be penalised is through the payment of an on-the-spot fine.
Specialist teams within the French police are equipped with binoculars that can quickly calculate speeds, helping them to pursue errant drivers.
According to the RAC, if Britons commit serious traffic offences that lead to a heavy fine, suspension or even a prison sentence, French police can hold the car until the driver pays up.
An RAC spokesman: “Finding you are liable for an on-the-spot fine of up to €375 when holidaying in France with no option to have this transferred back to the UK can be a very unwelcome surprise. This issue highlights the need to be aware of the rules of the road when driving abroad to ensure you don’t have the gendarmerie pulling you over in the first place.
“In France, this could be as simple as not carrying a reflective jacket, so we urge motorists to do their homework before they leave and make sure they don’t end up with substantial additions to the holiday budget.“
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...