Coyote has cautiously welcomed the news that the EU is considering giving police new powers to prosecute European drivers if they commit offences in any of the 27 countries that make up the union.
If each country plays by the rules and doesn’t use it as an excuse to treat foreign drivers as a revenue stream the new regulations could help improve road safety, according to Andrew Smith, Coyote’s managing director.
“The new proposals make sense and certainly would help UK police forces prosecute foreign drivers when they commit offences in this country. British motorists travelling on the continent should be well versed in all relevant speed limits, road signs and driving etiquette to help avoid a brush with the law,” said Smith.
“But in the UK one of our biggest problems has got to be foreign truck drivers who cause many accidents on our roads. Whether it is for speeding, driving hour violations or for bad driving, the proposed changes will hopefully ensure drivers and their employers are prosecuted. If they do not know or adhere to the laws of the UK roads, then they should not be allowed to drive on them,” he added.
The EU is basing this draft directive on the fact that a foreign driver is three times more likely to commit an offence than a resident driver and that foreign drivers account for 5% of all traffic in the 27-nation EU bloc, but around 15% of the speeding offences. Legislation could be introduced as early as 2013.
With hundreds of thousands Brits travelling to EU countries each year the UK government and driving organisations could work together to help educate drivers so they do not fall foul of the law.
“One key feature of the Coyote road safety gadget is that it displays the speed limit for every road in Europe, as well as warning the driver of speed camera locations, thus helping drivers meet their obligations. 650,000 drivers are already using the Coyote system across Europe to help them stay safe in their cars and UK subscribers automatically receive European cover with their initial free of charge, three month subscription,” said Smith.
However, Coyote believes the biggest weakness of the proposed legislation is that it excludes parking offences, which cause many problems for cities like London each year.
“Foreign drivers tend to visit London and can cause chaos when parking. They could do their homework more thoroughly before considering driving in the capital, but London boroughs also have their part to play by bringing greater clarity to their parking rules and regulations,” said Smith.