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New regulations: Law change has EU implications

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The Road Vehicles Registration and Licensing (Amendment) Regulations 2017 came into force on May 6, and fleet operators would be wise to take note of them.

The regulations require the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to provide details of the registered keeper of vehicles alleged to have been involved in certain motoring offences across the EU. 

The details include name, address and date of birth; or legal status if the keeper is not an individual, as well as the make/model and chassis number of the relevant vehicle. 

The alleged offences include failure to stop at a red light, drink-driving or driving under the influence of drugs, speeding and using a mobile phone while driving. 

Cross-border EU prosecutions for road offences have been unusual, rare even, but these regulations may change that situation for the better from a road safety point of view. 

Of course, for fleet operators, there’s the risk that they simply add another layer of bureaucracy to operations, as well as opening employees to the risk of a foreign prosecution for offences they may deny having committed. 

In real terms, there are some business considerations for those with a European reach. One of these could be the requirement to engage with foreign justice systems – language barriers and cultural differences may present a challenge, for example. 

Larger operators may be able to task in-house legal teams with managing this role, but smaller players may need to find external support – and, of course, this will come at a cost.

Another consideration is the interplay between employee relations and the regulations. 

Businesses will need to ensure their employment contracts and handbooks are up to date, and that their procedures for managing employees accused/convicted of criminal offences abroad are adequate.

Operators should also consider their position with regards to supporting (or otherwise) accused employees with legal assistance – especially if a guilty verdict would have a significant impact on the employee’s ability to continue in their role.

Richard Silver (pictured) is a motoring offences solicitor and managing parter of Richard Silver Solicitors. 

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