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Foreign police sting 300,000 UK motorists

Patrick Christys
Sep 2, 2019

Foreign police are coming after British drivers like no tomorrow.

A total of 300,000 UK motorists have been stung by foreign police since returning to Britain this year alone.

But ridiculous laws mean that our cops are not allowed to penalise foreign drivers in the same way.

Can you guess how many foreign drivers have been done for jumping a red light in the UK this year? None. Zero. Zilch.

As the Daily Mail reports, the days of British motorists being able to get away with driving offences committed on foreign roads became a thing of the past when the UK became a member of a alliance designed to make it easier for police from different nations to share details about drivers who have broken laws in countries they don't live in. 

The Mutual Legal Assistance scheme - which the UK rejected in 2011 but was forced to adhere to by the EU two years ago - grants foreign police the powers to apply to UK authorities for a driver's information. 

Under the agreement, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency must supply these details. 

That means any offence that's captured by cameras is fair game for foreign police to enforce with fines, even when drivers have returned back to the UK. 

Under these rules, fines can be enforced on Britons driving in foreign countries for speeding, failing to wear a seatbelt, not stopping at a red traffic light or other mandatory stop signal and drink or drug driving offences.

Penalties for use of forbidden lanes (such as an emergency lane, a lane reserved for public transport, or a lane closed down for road works) and using a mobile phone at the wheel can also be chased. 

Once overseas authorities have received the car owner's details from the DVLA, automated fines are sent to them in the post and must be paid to avoid further action.

But, shockingly, the same rules don't work in reverse.

The Home Office confirmed to This is Money that the UK doesn't have the same powers to chase drivers of foreign-registered motors who are caught on camera breaking the law on British roads.

It's due to one major difference in how fines and penalties are enforced in the UK compared to the rest of Europe.

That's because it's the owner of the car who is the one liable for offences in some other EU countries and are therefore legally pursued by authorities. 

However, UK law dictates that it's the driver - not the vehicle owner - who was at the wheel at the time who is legally required to receive penalties.

This is why police in the UK have to prove a motorist was driving before handing out points and fines for offences such as speeding.

The approach used by other EU nations is a double-edged sword for Britons, as vehicle owners can also be forced to pay fines issued by overseas police even if they weren't the one committing the offence - though in most cases, the owner is the one most likely driving at the time.

A Home Office spokesperson confirmed to This is Money that there is 'no legal mechanism' in place to 'compel foreign registered vehicle keepers to provide us with details of who was driving at the time of the offence'.

They added that no UK government or enforcement body makes requests for foreign driver details.



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