Motorists who speed, ignore red lights or drink and drive when in a country other than their own will be brought to book more easily, thanks to closer cooperation between European police forces and EU-wide enforcement of traffic rules, under plans approved on Tuesday by Parliament’s Transport Committee.

Traffic police authorities will be able to pursue offenders in their home country by using the EUROCARIS data exchange system. Speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, failure to wear seatbelts, illegal use of mobile phones, using bus lanes, not wearing helmets when riding a motorcycle and crossing red lights are among the offences covered by the legislation.
 
Harmonising basic traffic rules and setting common standards for sanctions and enforcement procedures in future would help further reduce the death toll on Europe’s roads, stressed MEPs during the debate ahead of the vote.
 
Strong revision clauses and reporting obligations for Member States were included at the instigation of Inés Ayala-Sender (S&D, ES), the MEP steering the legislation through Parliament. Her report was adopted by the Transport Committee today by a large majority, paving the way for a second reading agreement with Council before the summer holidays.
 
Ms Ayala Sender deeply regrets that the UK and Ireland have decided not to opt in to the system and that Denmark is entitled to opt out, because the Council changed the legal basis of the directive from “transport” to “police cooperation” at first reading.
 
The directive will enter into force at the latest two years after adoption and will be subject to close monitoring and assessment by the European Commission.
 
In the chair: Brian SIMPSON (S&D, UK)
Vote in plenary foreseen: July 2011
 
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