A Labour MEP has called on the UK government to act fast to comply with EU rules that will help bring dangerous drivers to justice.
The rules allow EU countries to exchange information to ensure people who commit serious traffic offences whilst driving a foreign-registered vehicle can be identified. After originally claiming exemption from the legislation, the UK government eventually agreed to comply following a decision of the European Court of Justice, but was still trying to insist on an extra two years to bring implementing laws into force.
To ensure there is no unnecessary delay, Lucy Anderson MEP, Labour's European spokesperson on transport and tourism, tabled and won a motion against the UK government position at the European Parliament transport committee, allowing for a more reasonable implementation period of one year for the UK from the expected date of the official publication of the final measure in mid-2015.
Lucy Anderson MEP said:
"According to the European Transport Safety Council, more than 26,000 citizens lost their lives on Europe’s road last year alone. Fifteen per cent of detected speed offences are committed by non-resident drivers, and these EU rules will give UK authorities the tools they need to identify offenders, even if they are not based in Britain.
"Whilst I understand the UK needs appropriate time to transpose this EU directive into national law, any unnecessary delay is unacceptable and will undermine the UK's on-going efforts to reduce road deaths."
Ms Anderson added:
“It is appalling that David Cameron’s government have been dragging their heels on this legislation. He and his ministers have known about this change for years and have simply failed to act. And rather than treating cross-border enforcement as a priority, instead, his MEPs and their UKIP friends have sought to block it by opposing my amendment.
"It is staggering the Tories and their Europe-hating allies in UKIP would play politics with the safety of people on our roads.
"These rules ensure drivers in foreign-registered vehicles will no longer be able to infringe UK traffic laws on serious offences such as drink driving without facing the consequences. I am delighted that my amendment was supported and I urge the Tory government to take responsibility, commit to complying as a matter of urgency and put public safety ahead of politics."