It seems the days of British drivers speeding abroad could be numbered. The European Parliament is expected to vote on a measure that will allow police forces to pursue offenders abroad.
Current law lets British motorists drive through a speed camera over the limit and get away with it. A fine can only be issued if a motorist is caught by a police officer and stopped at the roadside.
The new rules will give police the power to pursue fines for other driving offences, including ignoring red lights, driving while under the influence of drink and drugs and using a mobile phone at the wheel.
The European Commission also wants to introduce a system where penalty points given to a motorist abroad are added to their licence, meaning your stupidity in another country could get you banned from driving in your own.
The new rules will allow British police to fine foreign drivers who commit driving offences in Britain, but the government is already opposed to the idea. Roads minister Robert Goodwill called the plans for penalty point transfers “inappropriate”.
He added: “We will defend the rights of British drivers and we have been clear throughout the negotiations that people’s private data must be protected. Nothing in the new directive will allow a country to impose penalty points on the licence of a driver from another member state. The government will oppose any such proposal.”
A source for the Conservatives told the Telegraph: “A Conservative government would ensure these proposals do not see the light of day. Only a Conservative government will give the British people a referendum on membership of the European Union.”
If MEPs vote in the new rules, which is looking likely, they will come into play in Europe from May 2015. Britain, meanwhile, will have until 2017 so that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) can update its systems.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “It must not be easier for British drivers to be prosecuted abroad than for foreign drivers to be prosecuted in the UK; we have made this clear from the outset of the negotiations.”