Cross-border police operation targets road users
Police officers from 28 countries across Europe took part in a large-scale motorway control operation in France and Belgium on Thursday 21 February 2013. The five-hour operation was prepared by the Belgian National Traffic Police, the French National Gendarmerie, French National Police and Dutch National Traffic Police. During this time, hundreds of cars, buses and trucks travelling across the border were stopped and checked. Police were joined by representatives of partner agencies including vehicle inspectorate, customs and revenue.
The European Commission’s Vice President in charge of transport, Siim Kallas said: "The European Commission is strongly committed to promote the enforcement of road safety rules. Too many Europeans are still victims of reckless drivers who do not respect rules on driving times, technical road worthiness, speed and alcohol. Co-operation among police at European level is a powerful tool to prevent such behaviour and I am very pleased that TISPOL has organised –with support from the European Union- this concerted control action. We are all committed to one and the same objective: the reduction of death and serious injury on EU roads."
The control has formed part of a three-day exchange programme, organised by TISPOL, hosted by the French National Gendarmerie and funded by the European Commission's Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme (ISEC). Police officers from every EU member state (and Norway) have been taking part. They have had the chance to observe today’s control operation and to get to know the latest technology being deployed in the field of road safety and road security.
TISPOL President Koen Ricour said at the end of the operation: "This has been one of the largest-scale control events to take place between Belgium and France. Our work in road security goes alongside the long-standing commitment we have made to road safety. As we have seen today, technology can play a central part in denying criminals the use of Europe’s roads, and in helping to make a safer environment."
- 61 police officers took part in the operation
- 126 trucks were stopped and checked
- 2 trucks were found to be in dangerous condition and prohibited
- 25 crimes were detected, such as tachograph manipulation
- 104 breath tests were carried out; one was positive
- 3,120 vehicles were checked for speeding - 71 offences were recorded
TISPOL President Koen Ricour concluded: "In these days of ever-tightening financial pressure on public service organisations, it remains vital to equip police officers with tools appropriate to their task. Today’s operation demonstrated not only the importance of co-operation between police and partner agencies, but also the value of investing in the latest technology to detect those whose actions are dangerous. Swift and accurate identification allows the appropriate action to be taken against offenders, and helps make journeys on Europe’s roads safer and more secure."
Improving road safety, as a major societal issue, is a prime objective of the EU transport policy. The European Union is pursuing a policy to improve road safety with the objective of reducing fatalities, injuries and material damage. According to the Commission's statistics, almost 30 500 people died on the EU roads in 2011 while at the same time progress in cutting road fatalities significantly slowed down (to -2%) compared with a very promising EU-wide reduction throughout the last decade. This calls for intensive efforts at EU and national level to reach the goal of cutting road fatalities in half again by 2020 (See: Communication from the Commission "Towards a European road safety area: policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020", COM (2010) 389 Final). Enforcement remains a key factor in creating the conditions for a considerable reduction in the number of deaths and injuries, especially when it is intensively applied and widely publicised. The new preliminary road safety statistics for the year 2012 will become available in the course of the coming month.
What is the strategy concerning enforcement of road rules?
According to Objective n°2 Increase enforcement of road rules of the European Union's Policy Orientations on Road Safety 2011-2020, enforcement remains a key factor in creating the conditions for a considerable reduction in the number of deaths and injuries, especially when it is intensively applied and widely publicised. Increased coordination and sharing of best practices help make enforcement and controls significantly more efficient. The principle of the targeted control campaigns already organised in and between several Member States should be encouraged and generalised. In addition, the experience shows that the most effective results are obtained by combining control policy with users’ information. The Commission will therefore continue to support information actions and awareness-raising, in particular for young people.
What is cross-border enforcement?
Pursuing and sanctioning traffic offences committed with a vehicle that is registered in another Member State than the Member State where the offence has taken place.
What are the recent developments concerning cross-border enforcement?
Directive 2011/82/EU facilitating the cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences enables EU drivers to be identified and thus prosecuted for offences committed in a Member State other than the one where their vehicle is registered. In practical terms, it provides Member States mutual access to each other's vehicle registration data via an electronic data exchange network to be put in place. This will allow for the exchange of the necessary data between the country in which the offence was committed and the country in which the car was registered. Once the owner's name and address are known, a letter to the presumed offender will be sent to him/her, on the basis of a model established by the Directive. Nevertheless, it will be for the Member State of offence (where the offence was committed) to decide on the follow up for the traffic offence. The Directive does not harmonise either the nature of the offence nor the penalties for the offence. So it is the national rules in the Member State of offence, according to national law, which will continue to apply regarding both the nature of the offence and penalties.
The Directive covers the eight most common traffic offences, including the four "big killers" causing 75% of road fatalities – speeding, running red lights, failure to use seatbelts and drink driving.
Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)
Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)
Please see also: