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UK Tackles Non-UK Drivers Who Break Traffic Laws

Department for Transport (UK)

New Measures To Tackle Non-UK Drivers And Hauliers Who Break Road Traffic Laws

Non-UK drivers and hauliers who flout the rules of the road face being fined and having their vehicles immobilised under new road safety proposals published today by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

Drivers resident outside the UK will not be able to escape punishment under the new system which will give Police and examiners from the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA) the power to collect on-the-spot penalties from anyone without a satisfactory UK address from next year. They will also be able to issue penalty points against a non-UK driver's record for endorsable offences.

For the first time VOSA examiners will also have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to hauliers for a range of offences such as breaking driving hours, weight or vehicle safety regulations.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

"These tough new measures mean non-UK drivers who break our laws will find themselves in a similar position to UK drivers who are either issued with a fixed penalty or prosecuted in court.

"From next year all drivers without a satisfactory UK address who commit offences will have to pay a financial penalty deposit equal to the amount of the fixed penalty - or up to £300 as a surety in respect of a potential court fine.

"Our message is clear - those who break the rules of the road will not get away with it, irrespective of whether or not they live in the UK. The only way to avoid a penalty will be to ensure that vehicles are fully roadworthy, drivers comply with UK road traffic law and commercial vehicle drivers do not break drivers' hours rules or run with an overloaded vehicle."

In addition to financial penalty deposits, the new measures will enable the Police and VOSA examiners to immobilise any vehicle that has been prohibited from continuing a journey as a result of a driver breaking the rules on drivers' hours or driving a vehicle with defects.

A consultation on the eight draft Statutory Instruments (SIs) needed to bring these measures into force was launched today.

NOTES

1. The Department for Transport is consulting on the new measures. The consultation is available at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations and will be open for comments until 17 October 2008.

2. The enabling powers for these new measures were contained in the Road Safety Act 2006. The Department consulted on the principle of the measures in 2004 and in 2007 published an intermediate consultation to provide consultees with a broad understanding of what the schemes are about. This final consultation is on the draft Statutory Instruments necessary to bring the schemes into force.

3. From next Spring, it is intended that a financial penalty (deposit) can be taken on-the-spot from drivers who have committed certain road traffic offences and who cannot provide a satisfactory UK address.

4. Serious offences will still be prosecuted.

5. The immobilisation powers are an additional sanction to help enforce prohibitions issued against vehicles - for instance because they are mechanically defective or in the case of a commercial vehicle, the driver has been driving too long. The powers will also help to enforce the requirement to pay a financial penalty deposit from those without a satisfactory UK address.

6. Police can currently issue fixed penalties for a range of endorsable and non-endorsable offences as set out in Schedule 3 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. There is a publication called "Revised Guidance on the operation of the Fixed Penalty System for Offences in Respect of a Vehicle" available on the Home Office website.

7. From next year it is intended police and VOSA, for the first time, will be able to issue fixed penalties for a list of non-endorsable offences including:

* offences under Driver's hours rules

* failing to hold an Operator's Licence

* overloading a vehicle

* 'cabotage' offences

* failing to produce evidence of a driver Certificate of Professional Competence

8. It is also intended police/VOSA, for the first time, will be able to issue fixed penalty notices to non-UK residents for endorsable offences. Details of the offence, including the penalty points, will be recorded on the DVLA driver record. VOSA will not be issuing fixed penalties/penalty points for all endorsable offences, eg speeding.

9. The levels of Fixed Penalties range from £30 to £200. Drivers' hours and overloading offences will be subject to graduated fixed penalties (according to the seriousness of the offence). The level of graduations are set out in the Fixed Penalty (Amendment) Order are being published in the consultation document.

10. A deposit will be the same as the level of a fixed penalty (between £30 and £200) or surety for prosecution of up to £300.

Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk

Client ref 125
COI ref 163870P

ENDS

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