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Continental Driving Fines from 2013

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Visitors who are travelling in the EU in a foreign-registered car will no longer be exempt from fines for speeding and other motoring offences. The European parliament has approved new rules that mean as of 2013, people will have to pay any fines they incur.

The new system of cross-border driving fines 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.

It means, for example, that the owner of a French-registered car caught speeding or using a mobile phone whilst driving on a visit to the UK could still be pursued.

There are many offences included in the new directive, including; speeding, drink-driving, failing to wear a seatbelt and failure to stop at a red traffic light. Also, offences such as driving under the influence of drugs, using a mobile whilst driving, failure to wear correct safety gear on a motorbike or scooter, or the illegal use of an emergency lane are all covered.

The new system will allow the home country of the offender to provide car registration details electronically with the country where the offence took place.  The fines would be based on the country of the offence - for example: the British fine if a French driver is caught speeding in the UK.

The European Commission hopes the new rules will act as a deterrent and cut down on motoring offences. Recent EU figures suggest that foreign drivers account for five per cent of road traffic but 15 per cent of speeding offences.

A foreign driver is more likely to commit an offence than a resident driver, and the new rules are hoped to prove as a powerful deterrent in the coming years.

The new directive does not mean that motoring offences will be punished in the same way in every member state. Each country remains free to set its own fines according to national law.

Ian Donaldson, Managing Director of Autonet Insurance, said, "Offences such as speeding and drink driving are responsible for thousands of needless deaths on Europe's roads, and each death shatters a family's life. If this new directive can save at least one life, then it will have been worth it. The deterrent that this directive sets will hopefully send home hard the message that if you drive irresponsibly and put lives at danger, you will be punished.”

  By Ben Malkin © Copyright Autonet Insurance