Foreign drivers face ban in France under “virtual licences” safety scheme

Holidaymakers and workers travelling in the country will be banned from driving if they flout traffic laws and could find themselves on a blacklist if they fail to pay fines.

Around 10,000 fake speed cameras and 500 real ones will also be introduced to scare motorists into slowing down, officials revealed yesterday.

The strict measures were announced by the French government in its latest bid to cut the number of road accidents. According to the UK Telegraph the, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: ‘The French roads cannot be a cemetery.’

Accidents in France were 20 per cent higher in July than in the same month last year. A quarter of speeding offences in France are committed by foreign motorists, with the number increasing to 50 per cent in the summer months.

More than half a million British motorists are currently caught speeding in the country each year but police do not try to collect fines as the UK opted out of a 2011 EU directive.

Mr Valls’ comments came after a new directive was unanimously approved earlier this year.

The UK, Ireland and Denmark will have until 2017 to implement the rules, which include being able to target foreign motorists for offences including not using a seatbelt, drink driving, using a mobile phone and ignoring red lights.

Under the directive, each EU country will have a designated ‘national contact point’ in which prosecuting authorities will be able to access a database to trace foreign drivers.  A spokesman for the AA said: ‘From time to time the French have road safety blitzes but this one includes a particularly wide-ranging set of measures aimed at dealing with speeding.

‘The French have always been very strong in trying to catch foreign drivers speeding along their roads. ‘It has been well known that you could be pulled over by a policeman, taken down to the nearest cash machine and told to pay a deposit before you are allowed on your way.

‘In terms of parking enforcement and the payment of tolls, road authorities in many European countries have [also] found it very easy to chase up Brits at home.

‘The “virtual licence” scheme is just a technological upgrade. It all comes down to what the British government has agreed with the French in terms of cross-border enforcement.’

FINED, BANNED OR YOUR CAR CONFISCATED: HOW WILL THE NEW EU DIRECTIVE AFFECT YOU?

An EU directive outlining cross border enforcement for a series of traffic offences was approved earlier this year.

The UK, Ireland and Denmark will have until 2017 to implement the rules, which include being able to target foreign motorists for offences including not using a seatbelt, drink driving, using a mobile phone and ignoring red lights.

For first time, EU countries will have a designated ‘national contact point’ in which prosecuting authorities will be able to access a database to trace foreign drivers.

Suspected offenders will then receive a letter from the authorities in the country where the offence took place to warn of the legal consequences if fines isn’t paid.

British officials will be able to use the new law to pursue foreign motorists who commit offences in Britain, while foreign authorities will be able to do the same to UK offenders

The level of fines applicable is the same as for drivers of cars registered in the country where the offence is committed.

In France, British motorists could be banned from driving and have their cars confiscated if they accrue traffic offences.

 

 

 

 

 


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