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  1. ITV Report

UK drivers who speed in the EU to be fined under unfair 'one-way' law

British drivers will be fined - but EU drivers in Britain may not Credit: PA

British drivers will face fines for speeding on the Continent as of May - even though EU drivers in the UK committing the same offence may not.

Dubbed a "one-way" law, the EU directive gives European governments the power to access information on the owner of an offending car.

But in the UK drivers, not the owners, of vehicles are prosecuted.

In countries including France, the Netherlands, and Belgium, the buck stops with the owner of the car, not the driver.

This means that although all EU members can access information on vehicles breaking the law, only some of them can use it for prosecutions.

More than 23,000 foreign-registered vehicles escape speeding fines in the UK each year, depriving the Treasury of £2.3 million annually.

Edmund King, AA president, told ITV News: “The EU cross-border enforcement directive is a contradiction in terms as it is neither cross-border nor enforceable. It is a one-way street.

France is a popular holiday destination for Brits Credit: PA

“If police in the UK cannot issue tickets to the owner or keeper of foreign registered vehicles, then they should demand on-the-spot deposits or target offenders at the ports.

“It is the obligation of all drivers, whatever nationality, to abide by the rules of the road in the country they are driving in.”

Police can still fine motorists, no matter where they are from, on the spot for speeding.

Tom Ambrose, from the DfT, told ITV News: "The proportion of foreign drivers in their own vehicles abroad is very small in the UK – many will hire a UK-registered vehicle and the fine will be passed on by the hire car company to the driver."

While the UK is still a member of the EU, the Department for Transport is obliged to bring in rules on cross border enforcement. Once the UK has left the EU, Parliament will have the power to amend the law.

Having already been delayed by two years, Directive 2015/413 must be brought into UK law by 7 May.

Countries where the vehicle owner is liable:

  • France
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Hungary

Countries where the driver is liable:

  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Slovakia
  • Austria
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Czech Republic
  • Poland