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Europe wide fines come into force

Fines for several driving offences committed in other EU states will be sent to drivers’ homes

DRIVERS in most European states will see fines for key driving offences committed abroad sent to their home country from today.

France is part of 24 countries taking part in the initiative which will see the details of drivers shared between governments.

Only the UK, Ireland and Denmark have refused to sign the cross-border treaty, which could see an extra €100million being collected by the French government, as 25% of motoring offences here are committed by foreign drivers.

The European directive covers eight offences: Drink driving, driving under the influence of drugs, speeding, running a red light, not wearing a seatbelt, motorcyclists not wearing a crash helmet, driving on the hard shoulder and using a mobile phone while driving.

Foreigners who are caught in the act of breaking the law, by a police unit on the road, may have to pay the fine on the spot or face having their vehicle impounded.

Those flashed by a speed camera will receive a fine in the post.

Police have access to the car ownership register in participating EU countries and will send penalty notices directly to offenders’ homes, written in their own language.

Foreign offenders will be fined the penalty payable in the country of the offence, but fines vary across Europe, with Germany levying €10 for a minor speed offence while France fines offenders €68 (or €45 if paid promptly).

The disparity grows even more for serious speeding offences where a driver doing 100kph in a 50kph zone will be fined €120 in Germany and lose three points from their licence but face a €135 fine in France, four points off the licence, a three-year ban and possible seizure of the vehicle.

Due to the difference in penalty systems, no points will be taken off the licences of foreign drivers.

If the penalty is not paid, the foreign police force will send repeat notices with increased fines but there is no formal procedure to force payment at the moment.

The European Commission will move to introduce a system after 2016 when the application of the treaty is reviewed.

Photo:Simon Coste -

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