Government refuses to make North East roads safer

Local Euro-MP Stephen Hughes has called on the government to reconsider its decision to opt out of plans that would allow the authorities to crack down on foreign drivers speeding on North East's roads.

It was revealed this week that Britain has refused to participate in a pan-European scheme to make it possible to issue speeding tickets to drivers from other EU countries.

At present drivers from abroad can ignore British speed cameras because they know that the authorities can't enforce the fine back home.

Now European governments have decided to set up a system that would allow them to impose fines on drivers from other EU countries where they are caught speeding or jumping a red light.

But the government has refused to get involved with the plans, making it easier for drivers from other countries to break our road traffic laws.

Stephen Hughes has called on the government to take a lead: "The government must rethink its stance on this issue.

"Across Europe we see other countries cooperating to make their roads safer, but Britain is refusing to act.

"The decision is outrageous if we consider the 79,000 offences committed on UK roads every year by foreign drivers that will continue to go unpunished.

"The government is putting political dogma before people's safety on our roads."

NOTES

The new rules will apply to non-commercial drivers who commit offences such as speeding, jumping a red light or not wearing a seat belt. Separate rules already apply to lorry drivers.

The government has claimed that the cost of implementing the project is too high, but road safety organisations have shown that officials are double counting the cost of creating IT systems that are already budgeted for.

Now that the government has said that it won't be involved in the plans, other EU countries will push ahead with the project, with a vote in the European Parliament expected before the autumn.

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