EU crackdown on foreign drivers that commit traffic offences

  • April 24, 2024

The European Parliament has voted to approve new rules to ensure more foreign-registered drivers face justice after committing road traffic offences outside their home country. 

Current rules on ‘cross-border enforcement’ within EU Member States have helped increase compliance. However, in 2019 around 40% of offences by foreign drivers were not followed up, either because the offender was not identified or because payment of the fine was not enforced. The updated rules, approved today by MEPs in Strasbourg, address these issues with new provisions improving cooperation between EU countries.

Besides the automated exchange of information between national authorities, new mutual assistance procedures will be introduced to identify the offender and enforce fines.

Importantly some new offences have been included such as ‘hit and run’ – when a driver leaves the scene of a crash – in addition to the most frequent and egregious offences, such as speeding, drink- and drug-driving.

Commenting on today’s vote, Ellen Townsend, Policy Director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said:

Freedom of movement within the EU shouldn’t mean freedom to speed and drink-drive when away from home.  It’s great that the EU is cracking down on this by extending the range of traffic offences that can be followed up and improving the chances of fines being paid.

It’s unfortunate that we still don’t have a way of applying penalty points across borders – this is an issue that EU policymakers will have to return to. Nonetheless, this deal is a step forward for road safety and MEPs, Member States and the Commission have done a good job getting a deal done before the elections in June.”

The legislation will not come into force immediately because it still needs to be written into the national law of all 27 EU Member States.