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EU targets cross-border ‘impunity’ for bad drivers
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02 Mar 2023 / eu Print

EU targets cross-border ‘impunity’ for bad drivers

EU proposals to tighten up cross-border enforcement of traffic rules would give authorities in member states access to national driving-licence registers.

The EU body has also announced plans for a new system that would enable more EU-wide bans on drivers who commit serious offences.

Its new rules are aimed at improving road safety across the EU, where 20,000 lives were lost on the roads last year.

Offenders not identified

The European Commission said that, while the current rules had helped to ensure that non-resident road offenders did not remain anonymous, 40% of cross-border offences were committed “with impunity” in 2019.

This was either because the offender was not identified, or because the payment was not enforced.

The commission is also proposing to strengthen the role of established national contact points, so that they can better co-operate with the enforcement authorities involved in the investigation of offences.

“This will address current shortcomings in co-operation between member states when investigating offences,” the EU body said.

More offences covered

The current laws on cross-border offences cover areas such as speeding and drink-driving, but the commission wants to expand the scope of traffic offences covered to:

  • Not keeping sufficient distance from the vehicle in front,
  • Dangerous overtaking,
  • Dangerous parking,
  • Crossing one or more solid white lines,
  • Wrong-way driving,
  • Not respecting rules on the use of emergency corridors, and
  • Use of an overloaded vehicle.

The EU body said that these additions would help reduce impunity for such offences, and improve member states' ability to penalise offenders from other countries, while also ensuring equal treatment of resident and non-resident offenders.

It added, however, that its proposals would include measures to ensure that the rights of those accused of traffic offences in other member states were protected.


The commission plans to introduce a new system that would allow for an EU-wide driving disqualification when a member state decides to disqualify a driver because of an offence committed on its territory.

Under current rules, a driving disqualification cannot be enforced EU-wide, if the driver committed the offence in a member state other than the one that issued his or her driving licence.

Other elements of the commission package include a digital driving licence, and a plan to allow young drivers to gain experience, and work as professional drivers as soon as they turn 18.

The proposals will now be considered by the European Parliament and the EU Council.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland