The UK CAN’T chase foreign drivers for speeding and other offences

So far this year, more than 300,000 UK motorists have received fines in the post for driving offences committed in European countries. 

Due to an agreement the UK signed up to in 2017, foreign police forces can request the addresses of owners of British cars that have been caught by breaking traffic laws in their countries and issue fines through the post.

However, one major difference in how motoring offences are enforced in the UK means that not one foreign driver has been chased for speeding or jumping red lights on UK roads, This is Money can reveal. 

The key difference is that across many European countries the owner is responsible for the offence, while in the UK it is the driver.

One way fines: British motorists can be pursued by foreign authorities if they're caught speeding or committing other traffic offences overseas - but not vice versa Under the MLA agreement, the DVLA must provide foreign police forces with the details of the owner of a UK registered car that's been caught committing motoring offences The owner of the offending car is the one liable for offences in other EU countries and are therefore legally pursued by authorities - in the UK, it's the driver There was a 250% increase in requests for UK-driver details from French authorities at the start of the year due to fears that fines would not be able to be pursued for much longer Foreign drivers stopped at the roadside for speeding or breaking other laws in their cars are issued with fixed penalty notices but rarely pay up Foreign drivers stopped at the roadside for speeding or breaking other laws in their cars are issued with fixed penalty notices but rarely pay up

Foreign drivers stopped at the roadside for speeding or breaking other laws in their cars are issued with fixed penalty notices but rarely pay up

Do police have ANY powers to fine foreign drivers today?

The Home Office did confirm to This is Money that while UK authorities have no powers to enforce secondary fines for offences detected by cameras, penalties can be issued to those caught in the act by officers. 

‘Any driver stopped by the police for motoring offences in the UK will continue to be punished, whether British or foreign,’ they clarified.

The UK has for a decade has been using a ‘deposit’ system for offending foreign drivers – a system previously used by the French.

Failure to pay the levy is a criminal offence, attracting a £300 fixed penalty notice.

While HGV drivers need to pay a deposit towards the full fine, drivers of passenger cars don’t and escape the charge. 

The chances of all drivers – British or foreign – being stopped at the roadside are also diminishing as the declining number of dedicated UK transport police means foreign motorists are increasingly likely to escape without even a slap on the wrist. 

A report last year revealed that on-duty traffic officers had dropped by almost a quarter since 2012. 

Figures show that back in 2010 there were 3,472 police patrolling the UK’s roads. By 2017 this had fallen to just 2,643, with some forces – such as Northamptonshire Police – recording declines of as much as 83 per cent in that time.   

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