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Right-hand vehicles cannot be registered - Poland referred to Court

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The European Commission today decided to refer Poland to the EU's Court of Justice because it maintains obstacles to the registration of right-hand drive vehicles in Poland.

National legislation requires that the steering wheel is placed on the left-hand side of the vehicle. That means that, in practice, new and used cars with right-hand drive cannot be registered. The Commission considers that these restrictions constitute a disproportionate barrier to the import of such vehicles from other EU Member States (e.g. by citizen returning to Poland after having worked in the United Kingdom). In September 2010 the Commission requested the Polish authorities to put an end to these restrictions (IP/10/1221), but they are still in place.

In the Commission's view, if a motor vehicle meets EU type-approval requirements, it can be driven safely in all Member States irrespective of whether it is left- or right-hand drive. Therefore, the Commission considers that a total ban on the registration of right-hand drive vehicles is disproportionate to the legitimate public policy objective of ensuring road safety and protecting of human life and health.

As far as new cars are concerned, the Commission believes that the obstacles to the registration of right-hand vehicles are contrary to Directive 70/311/EEC on type-approval of steering equipment and framework Directive 2007/46/EC on EC type-approval of motor vehicles. Regarding used cars, the Commission considers that Poland is breaching EU rules on the free movement of goods (Article 34 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

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