|Information about European motoring requirements and the potential consequences of not meeting them.
The basic legal framework of European road traffic law stems from a number of Road Traffic Conventions to which all central European countries are signatories. Over the years since ratification, a plethora of rules and regulations have flowed from the individual European countries, including the UK.
However, each Country still retains its own legal system, laws and regulations some of which are more unique than others, both in content and interpretation, and in regional and local enforcement.
In consequence, the position of the UK motorist driving on the European Continent can be a veritable minefield of problems, particularly regarding the carrying of motoring accessories such as those relating to emergency and breakdown equipment which are required by law.
Somewhere, in the small print of most Motor Insurance Policies, is a statement to the effect that it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle complies with the law and is roadworthy for the Country he intends to visit. Failure to discharge this responsibility could result in the Company repudiating liability under the Policy.
Failure to Comply
In the event of prosecution and conviction for failure to comply with the legal requirements, the courts in all EU countries have wide powers to impose swingeing penalties, and the arresting officers have extensive powers to impose 'on the spot fines'.
On the Spot Fines
The moment these are demanded, they have to be paid in cash, in the local currency, to the arresting officer, can typically be 60 700 Euros. Credit cards or travellers cheques are not accepted, and in some countries inability to pay risks impounding your vehicle until the fine is paid.