Mobility and Transport

Road

Road safety: New EU cross-border exchange of information helps police pursue traffic offences committed abroad

Road safety: New EU cross-border exchange of information helps police pursue traffic offences committed abroad

29/11/2016

New EU rules have had a positive impact on tackling road traffic offences committed abroad: a report adopted today shows that the number of investigated offences committed by non-residents increased by four times to approximately 2 million between 2013 and 2015 in the Member States which have implemented the rules (By November 2016, 23 out of 28 EU Member States implemented the "Cross-Border Enforcement Directive" - the UK, Denmark and Ireland have a derogation and can implement the Directive by 6 May 2017; Finland and Portugal have yet to implement the Directive). The "Cross-Border Enforcement Directive" allows Member States, with the help of an electronic information system, to identify EU drivers who commit traffic offences abroad including the four "big killers" that cause 75% of road fatalities: speeding, running red lights, failure to use seatbelts and drink driving.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Our evaluation shows that, thanks to the new automatic exchange of information, offenders are less likely to get away with dangerous behaviour. This is very good news for the safety of our roads, and I call on Member States to make full use of the possibilities of the system."

The evaluation found that the electronic information system set up under the Directive provides for a speedy and secure exchange of vehicle registration data and does not generate unnecessary administrative burdens. However, the system is not yet used to its full potential. In 2015, approximately half of the detected road traffic offences committed by non-residents were not investigated.

Furthermore, the report suggests considering whether additional road safety related offences could be included in the scope of the Directive, such as not keeping sufficient distance from the vehicle in front, dangerous overtaking and dangerous parking.

PDF iconReport on the application of Directive (EU) 2015/413 facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences [COM(2016)744]

PDF iconCommission Staff Working Document on the evaluation of cross-border exchange of information on road traffic offences [SWD(2016) 355]

Background

6 May 2015 was the deadline for EU Member States to transpose Directive (EU) 2015/413 facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences ("Cross-Border Enforcement Directive"). The Directive enables EU drivers to be identified for offences committed in a Member State other than the one where their vehicle is registered.

In practical terms, the Directive provides Member States access to each other's vehicle registration data via an electronic information system to exchange the necessary data between the Member State in which the offence was committed and the Member State in which the vehicle was registered. Once the vehicle owner's name and address are known, a letter to the presumed offender may be sent, on the basis of a model established by the Directive. However, it is for the Member State where the offence was committed to decide on the follow-up.

The Directive covers the eight most common traffic offences:

  1. Speeding;
  2. Failing to use a seatbelt;
  3. Failing to stop at a red traffic light;
  4. Drink-driving;
  5. Driving while under the influence of drugs;
  6. Failing to wear a safety helmet;
  7. The use of a forbidden lane;
  8. Illegally using a mobile telephone or any other communication devices while driving.

The Directive does not harmonise either the nature of the offences, nor the system of sanctions for the offences. So it is the national rules in the Member State of offence, which continue to apply regarding both the nature of the offence and sanctions. Cases where the offender refuses to pay a financial penalty may be covered by Council Framework Decision 2005/214/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to financial penalties.

The evaluation took place after less than 18 months of the Directive being applied by most Member States, which means that its impacts cannot yet been fully assessed. Nevertheless, the collected data is sufficient to provide useful initial indicators on some key aspects of the Directive’s operation.