A French speed radar panel says: “You are driving 5 Km/h”
Photo: Flickr user Cha già José/Creative Commons (2010)
Road safety: Speeding tickets and other driving offences can continue to be pursued across EU borders for at least one more year, although a new system must then be introduced, Europe’s top court has ruled.
Brussels has one year to re-write the rules on cross border traffic offences, but member states can continue to share data on bad drivers under the present regime during that time, Europe’s top court has ruled.
In 2011, the European Council and European Parliament adopted an EU directive, that went into effect last year, allowing member states to “access each other’s national data concerning vehicle registration in order to determine the person liable for” certain types of traffic offences, according to the European Court of Justice.
However, the council and parliament changed the European Commission’s original proposal. The commission had wanted the policy to be issued under European transportation rules, but the council and parliament text changed its “legal basis” to police policy. Citing this shift, the commission then asked the ECJ in Luxembourg to annul the directive.
On Tuesday, the Kirchberg judges agreed with the commission. “Measures to improve road safety fall within transport policy,” the court stated, while EU police policy is meant cover fields such as immigration and crime.
The ECJ ruled that the commission, council and parliament have until May 6, 2015 to finalise a “new directive based on the correct legal basis (that is to say, transport safety)”. Until that time, the current information exchange system can continue to be used by member states.
The directive does not harmonise national driving laws, the commission stated in November 2013. Rather the rules allows traffic safety agencies across the EU to share details electronically in the pursuit of eight types of road safety offenses: speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, not stopping at a red traffic light, drink driving, driving under the influence of drugs, motorcyclists not using a crash helmet, using a restricted lane, and illegally using a mobile device while driving.
According to the commission, “a driver of a car registered abroad is three times more likely to commit offences than a resident driver.”
The commission also said that: “non-resident drivers account for 5% of the road traffic in the EU, but around 15% of speeding offences,” with the figure reaching up to 50% in France during peak driving periods.
The case was C-43/12 (Commission v Parliament and Council).