Fleets requiring their employees to drive abroad have been warned that drivers caught breaking traffic laws in any EU country can in future be prosecuted in their home country.
This could mean an English driver caught by camera jumping a red light in Paris for example, can be later prosecuted in the UK and receive penalty points on his licence.
Until now, motorists caught breaking driving laws in other European countries have been able to avoid licence endorsements.
In addition, drivers will no longer be able to attempt to evade prosecution by failing to give foreign police their correct details.
As part of the European Commission initiative, it has been proposed that all 27 EU countries establish a computerised system enabling the swift transfer of car registration details for motorists detected for offences such as speeding, not using a seatbelt or jumping a red light.
At present, although errant drivers are liable to pay fines or suffer other punishments if they break such traffic laws in foreign EU countries, this often does not happen because of practical difficulties regarding enforcement.
If they are stopped by the police, the often on-the-spot fines are enforced.
However, if their crimes are detected by camera they often escape punishment.
Now a European Commission memorandum explained how the new computerised system would benefit enforcement.
“It would be of particular value in relation to road traffic offences detected by automated devices where the identity of the offender cannot immediately be established, such as speeding or failing to stop at a red traffic light,” said the Commission.
“It is also useful to enable the follow-up of offences where verification of the vehicle registration details may be necessary, where the vehicle has been stopped.
"This is notably the case for drink driving.”
Under the proposed computer network – which will be introduced within two years – an erring driver’s home country would have to transmit on request the make and model of the vehicle; the driver’s name, address, date and place of birth for private cars; and company details, where a fleet car is involved.
Speaking in Brussels, EU transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said: “Drivers will now know that they have the threat of sanctions hanging over them.
"It’s a system that is quick and simple, which will provide the number plate and address of the owner of the offending car.”
It would “help to make an appreciable reduction in the current number of people killed in road accidents,” he added.