New data suggests driver detail requests have risen by 17% in connection to alleged driving offences outside the UK
According to new data, the number of detail requests for driver information asked for by foreign authorities in relation to alleged driving offences outside of the UK has increased.
The data suggests that the number of mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests for UK driver details has risen sharply from 2014 figures to figures from 2017.
In 2017, the UK received 1,903 driver detail requests from foreign countries which represents a rise of around 17% compared to figures from the previous year.
Thomas Reuters analysed the data which showed that driver detail requests stood at 138 in 2014 but jumped to 1,272 in 2015 and up to 1,635 in 2016, reaching its peak in 2017 (the latest year that figures are available for).
What these figures don’t reveal, is just how many of the requests were granted.
What the data illustrates according to Thomas Reuters, is that foreign prosecutors are eager to pursue drivers from other countries who they believe have committed a driving offence. Prosecutors have been able to send requests to the UK since the Cross Border Directive came into force in 2017.
Member states have been encouraged by the EU to investigate and punish foreign drivers who commit driving offences in other countries than their own following the introduction of their specialist driving offences programme STRIDER (Solutions to Reduce Injury and Death on Europe’s Roads) and has been introduced throughout 15 member states.
It’s unclear so far as to whether the UK will still be tied into the current legal framework related to sharing driver details once Brexit is over. If not, there could be a decrease in the number of cross-border investigations of UK drivers.
This could be got around by asking the UK to sign an ‘Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Driver Disqualifications’ with EU member states.
This type of agreement currently exists between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Since 1 August 2017, disqualified drivers from either country are prevented from getting behind the wheel in the other.
“The use of cross-border information requests has upended the legal risks of speeding abroad – foreign prosecutors can and will hunt you down,” said Kevin McCormac, editor of Wilkinson’s Road Traffic Offences, adding: “British drivers can expect no letup as more and more foreign prosecutors make use of the legal frameworks at their disposal.”
Motorists from the UK driving to other countries risk being caught breaking the law, as they don’t have full knowledge of how things work in the country they’re travelling to. In order to avoid being targeted by foreign prosecutors upon returning back home, it’s advisable to scrub up on the countries road laws before setting off.
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