Getting caught abroad for speeding or being pulled over for drunk driving can lead to hefty fines. But there are European countries where French motorists do not fear much.
What do you risk when committing a traffic violation in a foreign country? In France, the violation of the highway code, whether it results from an arrest or a contravention, physical or electronic, generally results in the sending of a report to the address linked to the vehicle registration certificate. The person then has a certain number of days to pay his fine, first reduced, then possibly increased in the event of exceeding the time limit for payment. Apart from a computer bug, rare but not impossible, it is difficult to escape the sanction!
Is it easier to slip through the cracks if the offense is committed outside our borders? Certainly, but not anywhere. According to a directive of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union dated March 11, 2015, which aims to "improve road safety throughout the Union and to guarantee equal treatment between drivers", a large number of member countries - 19 including France - allow the cross-border exchange of information concerning offenses committed on the roads.
Concretely, in the event of a traffic offense carried out in one of these 19 EU countries (see the list below), plus Switzerland with which France has signed a bilateral agreement, the registration certificate data (gray card) is exchanged between the different administrations. This leads to the sending of a report to the address of the guilty driver who risks the same penalties as those which apply in the country where he is guilty of an offence.
But if 20 countries are now collaborating to find and punish the culprits, this means that there are a certain number in which there is not much risk administratively. And there's no need to go ride in Nepal or in the depths of Guinea. Just go to the United Kingdom which, like Greece, Norway, Finland, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Albania or even Macedonia, does not share data with France to identify motorists guilty of traffic offenses.
Getting flashed in London for speeding has therefore become risk-free since January 1, 2021 (following Brexit), the English administration no longer having any obligation to transmit your details to its French counterpart... More generally, members of the European Union being flashed in the United Kingdom are now exempt from fines.
Furthermore, it is also interesting to know that only eight traffic offenses are subject to the directive followed by the small twenty member countries. And that if the offender must pay once returned home a fine in the event of a traffic offense committed within the borders of these territories, no withdrawal of point (s) is made on the driving license when it has been perpetuated abroad. Finally, while the European Union has recently proposed to expand the list of offenses that can be tracked from country to country, here are the ones for which you could be fined in 2023:
The list of 19 countries affected by the European directive to which must be added Switzerland: France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Republic of Ireland.