British motorists face heavy fines if caught on camera committing driving offences on the Continent under a new crackdown by Brussels. Offences covered include speeding, driving without insurance, running a red light and driving while using a mobile phone. Demands for fines would be sent out and, if necessary, pursued through the courts. Department for Transport acknowledged that the crackdown could even extend to transferring penalty points between countries which, in some cases, may lead to a driving ban or driving disqualification .
The proposals give the police the right to access a British motorist’s details from DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). This will allow them to chase motorists with GB plates across the Channel for motoring offences accrued anywhere in the EU.
British drivers can currently be fined for motoring offences in Europe only if stopped by an officer who can issue an on-the-spot penalty or march them to a cash point. But anyone driving a car with GB plates which is caught by roadside camera gets off scot-free.
Motoring groups destined the move as a ‘nightmare’ that takes no account of differing rules across Europe. The AA said there was already evidence that French police were targeting UK drivers with a disproportionate number of speed cameras on roads to Channel ports.
Ministers pledged to ‘resist any changes’ that penalise motorists in Britain, which has the best road safety record in Europe. As it is subject to a majority vote in the European Parliament and approval by a majority of the Council of Ministers, which represents member states. Britain cannot veto the proposals, but only lobby other members to oppose them.
AA president Edmund King said: ‘Our Government should indeed oppose this at all costs. It’s a nightmare. It opens up a hornets’ nest.