HUNDREDS of foreign drivers are getting out of speeding fines because of a loophole in European law.
According to British police, EU legislation means they aren’t able to track down driver details if a foreign vehicle is caught by a speed camera.
More than 900 British drivers were recently given £100 fines for breaking the 50mph limit on the M20 contraflow in Kent, ironically set up in April to deal with Brexit.
But 400 foreign drivers caught breaking the limit will not be prosecuted because Kent Police say it’s not their policy as they can’t trace the drivers of the vehicles.
Inspector Daryl McGrath, of Kent Police’s roads policing unit, told The Telegraph: “The legislation as it stands does not allow UK police forces to prosecute foreign drivers who are suspected of committing a speeding offence in the UK when caught speeding by camera.
“The reason is that in the UK, whoever was driving the vehicle at the time of an alleged offence, is liable for prosecution.
“In some, EU countries, the registered keeper of the vehicle is liable even if they were not driving at the time.
“Under EU legislation, dating from 2017, UK police forces can request the registered keeper’s details if they are a foreign national but we cannot establish who was driving the vehicle at the time.
“This is what we would require under UK legislation to secure a prosecution for a speeding offence.”
An EU directive introduced in 2017 was supposed to make it easier for member states to chase motorists who had committed a range of offences, including speeding.
The directive compels member states to exchange the identity of the registered keeper or owner of a vehicle – as opposed to the identity of the driver – at the time of the offence.
But UK laws make the driver liable, whereas the EU directive is based on the owner’s liability.
For police forces, that may make it more difficult obtaining information on drivers if they are from another member state.
The contraflow was imposed for a seven-week period between April and the end of May as part of Brexit contingency plans, and involves traffic using two lanes on the M20 London-bound with a 50mph speed restriction.
Local MP Damian Green and motoring organisation the RAC Foundation have said the decision sends out the wrong message.
The Ashford MP said he was appalled and would write to the chief constable seeking an explanation.
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Green said: “This is unacceptable. Everyone who uses that part of the M20 can tell you how they have been overtaken by foreign lorries who do not obey the speed limit.
“The idea that they can do so with impunity sends out the wrong message.”
Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation said: “Turning a blind eye to speeding drivers, of whatever nationality, sends out the wrong message about what is acceptable on Kent’s roads.
“Enforcement need not be at the roadside but at the ports.
“If cameras are used to detect offending then couldn’t the penalty be issued at entry and exit points? The mere threat of it would quickly act as a deterrent.”