A crucial step for road safety at EU level was taken today with the vote in the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) on two directives relating to the cross-border exchange of information on offenses, road traffic violations and disqualification of driving licenses throughout the Union. Renew Europe is particularly keen to ensure that only the most serious offenses committed on EU territory are subject to cross-border judicial reporting, and in strict compliance with data protection. Our group also called for an end to the impunity of drivers, who can today keep their driving license if the offense justifying its suspension or withdrawal was committed in a Member State other than that of issue of the document.
Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA (PNV, Spain), shadow rapporteur for the directives on the cross-border exchange of information regarding road safety offenses and disqualification from driving with effects throughout the Union, said : “The Union's roads will be safer when these two directives help the authorities to remove reckless drivers who endanger their own and other people's lives from the roads. With the utmost respect for data protection rules, this is the end of impunity for people who have committed serious road traffic offences. People who today continue to drive in other Member States where there is no record of such offences or the corresponding penalties, including the withdrawal of their driving licence. One more step towards the goal of zero accidents.”
According to a European Commission study from October 2023, nearly 20,640 people lost their lives on EU roads in the preceding year, 4% more than in 2021. While the underlying trend in the long term is decreasing - 9% less compared to the year before the pandemic - it is not decreasing quickly enough to achieve the EU objective of halving the number of deaths by 2030. Furthermore, progress continues unevenly from one Member State to another. Lithuania and Poland recorded the biggest reductions, of more than 30% between 2019 and 2022, although Poland's death rate remains above the EU average.
In the EU, 15% of speeding offenses are committed by non-resident drivers. And of the 14.5 million traffic offenses committed in 2019 by vehicles registered in another country, 6.3 million remain outstanding. 40% of offenses are thus committed with complete impunity either because the perpetrator of the offense has not been identified or because the payment has not been made. To remedy this, it is proposed to improve cooperation between Member States by allowing services responsible for recovering fines to have access to national driving license registers. Motorists could thus be found much more easily.
The Council of the EU should take a position on these texts on December 4 before starting to negotiate a compromise with the European Parliament with a view to final adoption hoped for by the end of the legislature.