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Vice-President of the Commission, responsible for transport
Statement to the press on cross-border enforcement
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Brussels, 2 December 2010
I think an awful lot of people take the view that when they are driving a car in a foreign country somehow the rules of the road no longer apply. Foreign drivers account for 5% of traffic on Europe's roads, but 15% of the speeding offences. Well if you are that speeding driver, I have bad news. It's about to stop.
Up to now if you go through a speed camera or the police pull you over when you are abroad, it's difficult – if not impossible – for them to check your car registration. They can't talk to the computer in your home country to access the key information. Too many people have been driving through that loophole. These new rules will solve that problem.
Which offences are we talking about? Mainly the four "big killers" which cause 75% of road fatalities. That's speeding, drink driving, failing to wear a seatbelt and failing to stop at traffic lights.
But we want to go further. And we are bringing in other offences which can be just as dangerous to road users and pedestrians as well.
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Not wearing a crash helmet
- Illegal use of emergency lanes
- And illegal use of a mobile phone while driving.
What does the deal today mean? In the future, if you get stopped or photographed committing one of these offences, the police in the Member State where you committed the office will be able to track you down and decide whether and how to prosecute you. That is very good news for road safety. And good news for the millions of European citizens who want to drive safely on Europe's roads.
Freedom of movement is a core right for Europe citizens. It must be protected. But it never included a freedom to break lights or speed on Europe's roads.