MEPs expand EU member state powers on cross-border investigation of traffic offences

On request of any EU member state in which a traffic offence occurs, the offender’s EU country of residence can take over the collection of road traffic fines of over €70

MEPs have reinforced cooperation powers between EU member states in the cross-border investigation of traffic offences.

Approximately 40% of cross-border traffic offences currently go unpunished. But under new rules, national authorities are obliged to reply to requests from another EU country without delay, and no later than two months after it has gathered the necessary information.

On request of the member state in which the offence occurred, the offender’s EU country of residence can take over the collection of road traffic fines, provided the amount is more than €70 and has not been paid after all legal options are exhausted.

EP rapporteur Kosma Złotowski (ECR) said: “To increase road safety EU countries must cooperate and have effective tools to punish traffic offenders from abroad. The updated rules will help achieve this, but are also beneficial for drivers, who will receive information within a strict timeframe, in a language they understand and with a description of the appeals procedure. The ban on the use of private companies to collect fines will effectively protect drivers against scams and the leak of personal data.”

The new rules were adopted by 570 votes in favour, 36 votes against and 24 abstentions. Once Council has approved them, EU countries will have 30 months to prepare for their implementation.

The updated rules will expand the list of traffic offences committed by non-resident drivers that trigger cross-border assistance and can result in a fine. In addition to speeding, drink-driving or failing to stop at a red light, EU legislators added dangerous parking, dangerous overtaking, crossing a solid line and hit and run offences, amongst other offences.

The EU country where the traffic offence occurred will have 11 months from the date of the offence to issue a traffic offence notice. The offence notice must include the time and circumstances of the offence, as well as information on how to appeal the fine.

At the initiative of MEPs, private entities will be banned from helping EU countries collect traffic fines from foreign drivers.

To increase transparency and facilitate the implementation of the new rules, the Commission is tasked with creating an online portal listing the rules, appeal options and the relevant road traffic fines, amongst other information.

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