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Call for mandatory alcohol interlocks in vans, lorries and buses across the EU

Call for mandatory alcohol interlocks in vans, lorries and buses across the EU

New report shows more than 5000 deaths a year in EU still caused by drink-driving Member States asked to increase enforcement and introduce rehabilitation programmes for drink-driving offenders The EU should require alcohol interlocks to be fitted in all new professional vehicles and retrofitted to cars used by repeat drink-driving offenders. These are two of the main recommendations from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), authors of a new report looking at how to reduce the 5000 deaths still caused by drink-driving in the […]

Cyprus introduces drug driving tests

Cyprus introduces drug driving tests

A new law, in force in Cyprus since last month, enables the police to perform roadside checks for driving under the influence of drugs. For the first ten days after the implementation of the law, the police engaged in an information campaign but, as of 25 January, checks are being performed and offenders prosecuted. The preliminary test is performed on a saliva sample, with a simple hand-held device, which gives only a positive-negative result. When the result is positive, a second saliva sample is […]

Roadworthiness: Commission urges Member States to update vehicle testing rules

Roadworthiness: Commission urges Member States to update vehicle testing rules

The European Commission has requested that six Member States fully transpose into national law rules agreed in 2014 on roadworthiness testing for motor vehicles. The rules, made up of three EU Directives, should have been in place in all Member States by 20 May 2017. To date, however, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Romania and Slovakia have not – or only partially – done so. The Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia have not adopted, published and communicated to the Commission measures on the […]

ECJ says lorry drivers cannot take their weekly rest in their vehicle

ECJ says lorry drivers cannot take their weekly rest in their vehicle

Lorry drivers should not be allowed to take their mandatory weekly rest in their vehicles, the European Union’s highest court has ruled. Under EU rules (2006/561/EU), drivers must have a daily rest period of at least 11 hours and a regular weekly rest period of 45 hours. The driver can choose to take their daily rest or a reduced weekly rest period in the vehicle only if it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary. A Belgian transport company brought a case in 2014 […]

Irish parliament debates automatic disqualification for drink drivers

Irish parliament debates automatic disqualification for drink drivers

ETSC has joined calls for a tougher law on drink driving in Ireland.  The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017 is currently working its way through the Irish legislative process but has faced opposition from pub owners and members of parliament representing rural areas. One of the government’s proposed changes is automatic disqualification of drivers found with a blood alcohol level of between 0.5 and 0.8g/l.  Currently offenders caught in that range face a €200 fine and three penalty points with only those caught over […]

Billionaire’s EUR 25,000 drink driving fine puts means-tested penalties in the spotlight

Billionaire’s EUR 25,000 drink driving fine puts means-tested penalties in the spotlight

A Norwegian billionaire that recorded a BAC level three times higher than the legal limit has been banned from driving and handed a 250,000 krone fine (EUR 25,000).  But the fine could have been much higher as, under Norwegian law, fines are linked to monthly income and in some cases overall wealth. 22 year-old Katharina G. Andresen, one of the world’s youngest billionaires, reportedly could have been faced with a fine worth up to EUR 5 million.  However the judge concluded that Ms Andresen’s […]

Calls to increase education, enforcement and penalties for distracted driving

Calls to increase education, enforcement and penalties for distracted driving

A number of national surveys across Europe have revealed worrying attitudes to the use of mobile devices while driving. Campaigners are calling for better enforcement, higher penalties, technological solutions and education to raise awareness of the risks. A survey carried out by Ipsos in the Czech Republic last Summer found that 36% of drivers admitted using their phone almost every time they get behind the wheel. In Spain, 25% of drivers have admitted to using their phone behind the wheel, similar to the figure […]

Finland to double number of safety cameras as groups in Spain and the Netherlands call for more enforcement

Finland to double number of safety cameras as groups in Spain and the Netherlands call for more enforcement

Finnish police plan to install an additional 150 safety cameras over the next three years. Municipal officials are currently working with police to determine where to place the devices.  The addition of the new cameras will more than double the current stock of 130. Police also have plans to introduce 25 mobile safety camera vehicles.   The Finnish Transport Agency is preparing a list of proposed sites, the final locations will be based on road safety data.  New data for the first half of 2017 has shown that Finnish motorists are slowing down as a result of increased automated enforcement.   […]

UK survey reveals many drivers exceeding 20 mph limits

UK survey reveals many drivers exceeding 20 mph limits

A survey commissioned by road safety charity Brake has found that more than half (52%) of UK drivers admit to speeding in 20 mph zones. The survey of 2,000 drivers also showed that 8 in 10 (78%) think traffic is too fast in their neighbourhood for the safety of children on foot or bike. According to Brake, research has found that children cannot judge the speed of approaching vehicles travelling faster than 20mph, so may believe it is safe to cross when it is […]

Ireland considers linking speeding fines to income

Ireland considers linking speeding fines to income

Ireland’s Road Safety Authority (RSA), an ETSC member, says it is seriously considering making proposals to link speeding fines to income. The announcement follows changes to the structure of speeding fines in the UK that came into force last month. The UK has had income-linked speeding fines for some time, but the levels were increased last month for the most serious offences.  Drivers can now be fined up to 175% of their weekly income, for example for driving at 101 mph on the motorway […]

UK: New drivers caught using phones to lose license

UK: New drivers caught using phones to lose license

Drivers in England, Scotland and Wales caught using their phones at the wheel within two years of passing their test will have their driving license taken away under a new law that came into force on 1 March. Penalties for other drivers have also been doubled to GBP 200 and six penalty points. Responding to the new British law, the Irish transport minister Shane Ross said he is open to imposing similar measures in Ireland. ETSC’s German member DVR called in January for fines […]

Safety groups back tougher UK penalties for causing a road death

Safety groups back tougher UK penalties for causing a road death

More than 9,000 people responded to a recent UK Ministry of Justice consultation on proposals to increase prison sentences for people that cause death by dangerous driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The government said the response was one of the largest of any recent consultation and included responses from victims’ groups, bereaved families, road safety organisations and charities. The proposals include an increase in the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving or driving under the influence of […]

Safety fears over reduced fines in Greece

Safety fears over reduced fines in Greece

ETSC’s Greek member organisation RSI Panos Mylonas has strongly rejected a government proposal to cut fines for traffic offences including speeding and use of mobile phones at the wheel. The plans came to light in a Sunday newspaper interview with deputy minister Nikolaos Toskas. Mr Toskas commented that the current fines are too high for Greek people facing difficult economic circumstances. While sympathetic to the harsh financial pressures many Greeks are facing, RSI Panos Mylonas and ETSC commented that the move would be a […]

Cross border follow-up of traffic offences not being used at ‘full potential’

Cross border follow-up of traffic offences not being used at ‘full potential’

New EU rules have had a positive impact on tackling road traffic offences committed abroad according to a European Commission report. The number of investigated offences committed by non-residents increased by four times to approximately 2 million between 2013 and 2015 in the Member States which have implemented the rules. The “Cross-Border Enforcement Directive” allows Member States, with the help of an electronic information system, to identify EU drivers who commit traffic offences abroad including four “main killers” that cause 75% of road deaths: […]

Berlin hails police cycling patrols

Berlin hails police cycling patrols

A pilot project involving specialist police cycling patrols in central Berlin has been hailed as a success as figures showed a reduction in severe injuries of around 30%. Twenty police officers on bikes are involved in the project which launched in Summer 2014. They focus on enforcement such as ensuring drivers do not block cycle paths and cyclists do not jump red lights. The project is due to end next year, but supporters of the scheme are calling on the city government to extend […]

Belgium takes action on speeding

Belgium takes action on speeding

New technology and legal changes are the latest weapons in the fight against speeding in Belgium, with new safety cameras being trialled in the Northern region of Flanders and a change to the legal status of speeding fines in French-speaking Wallonia. Four police zones in Flanders have installed safety cameras with an invisible infra-red flash system, reports DHnet.be. The system is designed to reduce the numbers contesting fines and help prevent dangerous braking near the cameras. At one site, the system was reported to have […]

France cracks down on company car speeding

France cracks down on company car speeding

A legal loophole in France that has let many fleet car drivers avoid speeding fines and penalty points is set to be closed. Companies had been able to pay fines on an employee’s behalf without ever identifying the driver.  But that should change following the approval of a new legal text in the National Assembly earlier this month. Around 15% of the French vehicle fleet is thought to be company owned. And the government estimates that 2 million penalty points a year were not […]

Follow-up needed on EU cross border enforcement rules

Follow-up needed on EU cross border enforcement rules

An independent report on the EU’s law on the cross border enforcement of traffic rules recommends further action to ensure non-resident drivers are sanctioned for offences committed outside their home country. The evaluation, carried out for the European Commission, found that overall the law is justified in terms of EU added value, is cost-effective, relevant and improves enforcement and awareness of traffic rules for cross-border drivers. But the report also says that implementation has been hampered by delays to the law’s adoption and implementation. […]

ETSC statement: Transport safety implications of the UK referendum on EU membership

ETSC statement: Transport safety implications of the UK referendum on EU membership

In a referendum held on 23 June, a majority of citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.  The decision, if carried through with the commencement of the Article 50 procedure of the treaty of the EU, may have far-reaching consequences for the areas of policy covered by European Union law, including transport safety. There is currently a great deal of uncertainty about the kind of relationship the UK will have with the remaining member states, and the legal framework that […]

US states strengthen alcohol interlock laws

US states strengthen alcohol interlock laws

The US state of Pennsylvania has mandated alcohol interlocks for first time drink driving offenders. Meanwhile Virginia has set new requirements for the devices to be fitted with cameras to ensure the driver is the one taking the breath test before starting the engine. Pennsylvania’s alcohol interlock law previously applied to repeat offenders – the changes mean that first time offenders can also face the requirement. The law is expected to come into force next year. The campaign group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) […]

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