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French police go after British drivers

Peter Bunberry
Aug 13, 2019


Ah, the French. The old enemy. The cheese eating surrender monkeys whose armoured tanks famously only have one gear - reverse. 

Well, they're coming for British drivers.

That's right, French police are pursuing UK drivers for fines related to motoring offences committed in their country in recent months, figures have revealed. 

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A staggering 76% of the total enquiries made by all countries to trace British drivers who've allegedly committed an offence abroad come from the French.

There are 18 countries that have utilised a new agreement allowing them to chase British drivers for fine payments between February and June 2019, issuing 325,145 requests for individual's details in that time.

Incredibly, 246,138 of these requests have been made by French authorities.

The UK signed up to the Mutual Legal Assistance scheme in 2017, which allows authorities across Europe to pursue British drivers who have broken the law abroad.

It remains unclear what impact Brexit will have on the UK's membership as part of the MLA agreement. 

But it appears that French police have been making the most of the opportunity to hound Britons to pay up for motoring offences while they can - far more than any other country. 

Recent reports have indicated that the Gendarmes had issuing more than 210,000 requests to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for owners of cars that have been captured breaking the law on the other side of the Channel this year.

However, breathalyser manufacturer AlcoSense has discovered that the figure is closer to 250,000 - and French requests makes up more than three quarters of all enquiries from across Europe.

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Just last week, motorists were being warned to be vigilant of how fast they drive on French motorways and major roads as speed camera tolerances are half what they are in the UK

But drivers also need to be aware that there are other differences in the law that could catch them out when driving through Europe, such as varying drink drive limits.

In France, for instance, the limit is 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood - compared with 0.8mg in England and Wales. The limit is even lower in Poland, Norway and Sweden at 0.2mg per mL.

And in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Russia there's zero tolerance when it comes to drink driving.

Speeding is the offence most foreign authorities are chasing British motorists to pay, as they look to generate funds from foreign drivers who had previously been able to escape punishment for exceeding speed limits overseas. 

NUMBER OF UK DRIVER DETAILS REQUESTED BY EUROPEAN AUTHORITIES 
Country Feb 19 Mar 19 Apr 19 May 19 Jun 19 Total
France 43,586 104,161 41,732 23,399 33,260 246,138
Germany 4,064 4,338 4,235 5,331 4,877 22,845
Italy 2,482 4,593 3,802 3,177 2,939 16,993
Spain 1,692 1,976 2,562 3,461 3,751 13,442
Austria 1,073 932 1,568 1,902 1,400 6,875
Latvia 1,285 764 903 1,134 1,434 5,520
Lithuania 931 1,423 1,318 1,160 610 5,442
Hungary 397 430 564 643 678 2,712
Czech Republic 214 225 298 309 270 1,316
Luxembourg 116 174 350 245 337 1,222
Poland 85 603 204 167 163 1,222
Bulgaria 286 112 192 220 117 927
Slovakia 22 42 25 46 40 175
Netherlands 24 34 17 8 13 96
Croatia 12 28 16 10 25 91
Slovenia 24 17 16 16 10 83
Malta 0 0 0 0 43 43
Finland 0 2 1 0 0 3

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