2016-02-04en-GB

Foreign speeders get away with it

Recently I took part in a very interesting BBC Radio Kent broadcast on the subject of how many foreign registered vehicles caught speeding by camera are avoiding prosecution. These statistics are staggering and will come as a surprise to many people.

Information provided by Kent Police pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the number of foreign registered vehicles detected committing speeding offences by both fixed and mobile speed cameras that resulted in no further action being taken was as follows:

Year Number of foreign Vehicles Highest Recorded Speed of Foreign Vehicle
2013 1516 121 mph
2014 1885 113 mph
2015 3050 121 mph

 

The year runs from the 1 January to 20 December, and so it will be interesting to see whether these statistics get any worse by December 2016.

Everyone will recognise that high speeds like this, as well as the numbers themselves, pose a serious road safety risk to everyone. Police say that they have had discussions with French authorities about the issues, but that the differences in legislation make it impossible to take any positive action. The inability to trace the registered keeper means that Notices of Intended Prosecution cannot be sent out and there is apparently no mechanism in such cases to find out who the driver was. It means that significant numbers of drivers of foreign registered vehicles are literally getting away with it.

At such speeds UK drivers will almost certainly be facing a lengthy period of disqualification, as well as costs and fines.

The Road Safety Act 2006 introduced regulations which permitted suitably qualified police officers to issue what are called Summons Roadside Deposit Notices, or Roadside Deposit Notices. The process is available when a police officer stops a speeding vehicle (or one committing other offences as the process is not confined to speeding) and is able to identify the driver. If the speed access is relatively modest a Roadside Deposit Notice can be issued requiring the driver to pay cash equivalent to a fixed penalty notice of £100. That money is paid to the court service. If the speed excess is very high, such as would warrant a summons, a Summons Roadside Deposit Notice can be issued requiring the payment of a much higher sum. If the driver cannot or will not make a payment, he can be stopped from travelling further.

The payments are intended to secure the drivers prosecution.

However, in contrast to the number of vehicles escaping prosecution, the number of vehicles issued with such notices during the same three years was as follows:

Year Number of foreign Vehicles Highest Recorded Speed of Foreign Vehicle
2013 101 123 mph
2014 105 113 mph
2015 88 112 mph

 

It is not known whether drivers stopped were issued with notices requiring them to pay modest £100 deposits, or significantly higher sums. Again, the high speeds detected pose a serious risk to other road users. For the year 2015, Kent police were able to deal in this way with between only 2% or 3% of offenders.

So when you see foreign registered vehicles passing you by on the M20 at very high speed, you will know that the chances are they will be getting away with it.

I don’t suppose for a moment this problem is confined to Kent, although it has to be said that as a county it has more road connections with Europe than any other counties. The regulations made pursuant to the Road Safety Act 2006 represented the U.K.’s first step towards enabling police to take money from offending drivers, whereas in Europe police have been doing this for much longer. France, in particular, is well known for the very firm way its police officers take cash fines from offending drivers. Less well known is the power to issue immediate orders of disqualification and I have encountered a few UK drivers who have been caught out by this.

EU Police Forces have access to DVLA records and can and do chase registered keepers through the courts. They can instruct debt collection companies here who are only too happy to track down and take payment from keepers. Many EU countries have legislation that places liability with the registered keeper, whereas the UK does not.

Many will see this as unfair.

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Comments

Hi David Just come across your website and this item. I not only live in Kent and have an interest in this particular subject. I often see 'Letters' in local Kentish papers and articles with the 'foreigners are getting away with it' theme. As I have driven abroad, so being a 'foreigner' I have probably got away with it! As far as I know EU Directive 2015/413/EU Cross-Border Enforcement will become law in May 2017. So I might be accused that I was speeding, not wearing a seat belt, did not stop at junction etc. but how can I prove this, if there is no video or camera evidence, only word of mouth from the police or civil servant? Does any EU country publish its laws in anything other than its own native language? So this would mean employing a native speaking solicitor with a good working knowledge of motoring law. How easy would that be! Like cases in this country how would I know that all the legislation has been done correctly by that authority? Would I drive to Italy to fight a speeding prosecution in a alien court, in a justice system I do not understand and in a language unknown to me? So it is pretty obvious that any vehicle with a 'foreign' number plate is cash-in-the-bank, an easy target, as nobody but millionaires could afford to challenge the evidence! So how does this comply with The Human Rights Act that says I am entitled to a 'fair hearing' before an 'independent and impartial tribunal! ? From your own experiences, you know this is not true in this country! You may be jealous, because 'foreigners' have got away with it, but do we really want to escalate more injustices over the whole of Europe? If caught abroad, you just have to pay-up, but this is something totally different and we have seen how electronic fully automated prosecutions are surging away in this country. Alright seeking a few headlines with exaggerated cases, but this is not really what is going to happen in the real world of mundane cases.
Comment by Terry Hudson - dth 11 2016
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