Move to End Impunity for Non-Resident Drivers Across EU Member States

Move to End Impunity for Non-Resident Drivers Across EU Member States

The EU Transport and Tourism Committee has adopted draft new rules to end the impunity of non-resident drivers and improve road safety. Under the current rules, if a driver commits an offence in a country other than the one which issued their licence and loses it, the sanction will most of the time only be valid in the country where the offence was committed and entails no restrictions in the rest of the EU.

To make Europe’s roads safer Transport MEPs want driving disqualification decisions to apply in all EU member states and for more offences to trigger cross-border investigation.

Under the proposed new rules, decisions on the suspension, restriction or withdrawal of a non-resident’s driving licence will have to be passed on to the EU country which issued the driving licence, to ensure the disqualification decision is applied across all EU countries.

MEPs propose the expansion of the list of severe traffic offences that would trigger the exchange of information on driving disqualification. In addition to the proposal by the Commission to include excessive speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and traffic offences causing death or serious bodily injury, MEPs add driving without a valid licence offence. Transport MEPs suggest instituting strict deadlines for EU countries to inform each other and the person concerned about driving disqualification decisions.

MEP Petar Vitanov (S&D, BG) said, ‘I hope EU-wide driving disqualifications will reduce the number of road accidents throughout the EU by enabling the punishment of reckless driving abroad, and decrease significantly the number of fatalities caused by excessive speeding, drink-driving, and driving under the influence of drugs. As we work towards Vision Zero, we must also raise awareness that driving is about keeping everyone safe on the road.’

Transport MEPs also revised draft EU rules on the cross-border exchange of information on traffic offences to streamline assistance between member states. The committee backed expanding the list of traffic offences that would trigger cross-border investigation to include dangerous parking, dangerous overtaking, crossing a solid line and hit and run amongst other offences.

Given around 40% of cross-border offences go unpunished, MEPs support more robust assistance procedures between EU countries by involving national contact points more in cross-border investigations, providing them access to different national registers and setting up an IT portal for information exchange.

Both proposals are part of the Road safety package presented by the Commission in March 2023 to improve safety for all road users, facilitate cross-border enforcement of traffic rules and modernise driving licence rules. The ultimate goal is to move as close as possible to zero fatalities in EU road transport by 2050 (“Vision Zero”).

Image bt Rico Loeb/Via Pixabay/https://pixabay.com/service/license-summary/

Antoinette Tyrrell is a writer and journalist who started her career in print and broadcast journalism in Ireland. An English and History graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she worked for 11 years in corporate public relations for Irish Government bodies in the Foreign Direct Investment and Energy sectors.

She is the founder of GoWrite, a business writing and public relations consultancy. Her work has appeared in a range of national and international media and trade publications. She is also a traditionally published novelist of commercial fiction.

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