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Traffic laws must be enforced - not just to sanction violations but also to deter offenders and encourage responsible driving.
Enforcement actions frequently target high-risk violations like speeding, drinking and driving, and not using a seat belt. Fines for failing to stop at a red traffic light, use of mobile phones and other lesser offences are also common.
Traditional methods of police enforcement include on-the-spot roadside checks and the use of automated devices such as speed cameras. To be most effective, police enforcement should be publicised, and involve a mix of highly visible and low-profile activities.
The EU recommends consistent enforcement of laws against speeding, drinking and driving, and driving without a seat belt. Research has shown that better enforcement of these rules could prevent 5000 deaths per year in the EU. Legislation has been proposed to ease cross-border enforcement of fines for major traffic offences.
A legal study collected information on traffic rules and enforcement practices for speeding, drinking and driving, and seat-belt use in 15 EU countries.
The PEPPER project considered how to enforce road safety rules effectively and efficiently, focusing on speeding, drink-driving and the refusal to use seat belts. It analysed how to disseminate good enforcement practices, studied the potential of new technology and detected a need for better data on enforcement.
- EU recommendation 2004/345/EC – enforcement: road safety
- EU communication on a 2003 recommendation – enforcement: road safety
- EU decision 2005/214/JHA – mutual recognition for financial penalties
- Proposal – EU directive on cross-border enforcement in the field of road safety COM(2008) 151 final
- Directive on cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences