An informal agreement between EP and Council negotiators on a new directive for tracking traffic offences committed by drivers from another EU member states was approved on Tuesday by the EP Transport and Tourism committee with 32 votes in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions. Agreed text makes the changes required by a ruling of the European Court of Justice, which should allow replacing the directive annulled by the Court with a new one before the date given for the expiry of existing rules.
“To fulfill the new EU target of cutting road deaths by half we need new and more effective road-safety instruments such as this directive to fight impunity. Citizens are of course never thrilled to receive a letter telling them they have committed a traffic offense, but they too welcome the fact that everyone in the EU will be treated equally, no matter where their vehicle is registered,” said rapporteur Inés Ayala Sender (S&D, ES).
“The directive has already proved to be a very effective first step instrument in countering impunity on the EU roads. It will serve as a deterrent for foreign drivers who are now aware that it is possible for them to be notified of any offence they commit whilst abroad,” she added.
The text approved by transport MEPs makes changes to the legal base of the directive on cross border information exchange for tracking of traffic offences committed by drivers in vehicles registered in another member state, as required by the ruling of the European Court of Justice.
Rules to apply to all 28 member states
Three member states are currently not part of the measure, but the directive would begin to apply to them as well because of the change in the legal base. The agreed text gives these member states – UK, Ireland and Denmark, two years from entry into force of the directive, to adopt relevant national rules.
A new directive was proposed by the Commission as the European Court of Justice annulled the previous directive because of an incorrect legal base (police cooperation). Current rules on traffic offences information exchange remain in place until 6 May 2015, by which time the legal base should be changed to transport safety, the Court ruled in May 2014.
The cross border traffic information exchange rules allow member states access to each other’s national vehicle registration data in order to track persons liable for certain safety related offences: speeding, not using a seatbelt, failing to stop at red lights, drink driving, driving under the influence of drugs, not wearing a safety helmet, using a forbidden lane, and illegally using a mobile phone, or any other communications device, while driving.