For several months law enforcement authorities in other European member states have been authorized to punish Latvian drivers for breaching road traffic rules in their respective countries. When travelling to Europe by car, keep in mind that each country has its own legislative nuisances when it comes to road traffic regulation.
In November 2015, the European Parliament and Council Directive 2015/413 came into force in Latvia. This directive provides cross-border exchange of information regarding violations of road traffic rules, as noted by If Insurance.
Directive allows authorities to find and fine perpetrators
The approved directive means that officers of law enforcement institutions of other European countries will be able to use the European car and driving licence information system to find owners of cars registered in Latvia that had been seen committing a road traffic violation. European authorities will send owners a notification of the crime and fine applied for it.
The most popular tourist destinations
Five of the most popular countries visited by Latvian residents during summer are Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and Turkey. Residents visit them for leisure and for work purposes. Other popular destinations include France, Greece, Estonia and Lithuania. What should drivers keep in mind when travelling to those countries by car?
«Most of Europe and other countries have a common concept for combining telephone conversations and driving: if the driver does not use hands-free equipment, holding the phone in the hand while driving a car is permitted in very few countries. Fines also differ from country to country, ranging from a couple of dozen euros to a couple of hundred euros. Ireland and Netherlands even apply prison sentence for up to several months in extreme cases,» – says head of Insurance Claim Department of If Insurance Liga Berzina.
In Latvia and many other European countries the maximum allowed traffic speed in towns is 50 km/h and 90 km/h outside of towns. It is also worth keeping in mind that this speed varies depending on the state of roads, weather conditions, types of transports and other factors. The permitted speed on highways is more often the same – 130 km/h.
«For most drivers, the road to European countries lies through Poland, where roads are divided into different categories. The speed allowed on two-lane roads without extensions is 90 km/h (100 km/h on two-lane roads with extensions). Allowed traffic speed for four-lane road is 110 km/h and that of highways is 140 km/h. In towns and other populated areas, the permitted speed is 50 km/h (60 km/h from 23:00 to 06:00),» – Liga Berzina explains.
Drivers should also be especially careful in Lithuania. The permitted speed in towns is 50 km/h. Outside of towns on roads with asphalt cover, the permitted speed is 90km/h. On all other roads, permitted traffic speed is 70 km/h. Drivers with driving experience of less than two years are not permitted to drive at a speed of more than 70 km/h. Throughout 1 April – 31 October, light-weight vehicles are allowed to drive at a speed of 130 km/h. Throughout 1 November – 31 March, on the other hand, their maximum speed is not allowed to exceed 110 km/h. On highways, the permitted traffic speed throughout 1 April – 31 October is 120 km/h (110 km/h throughout 1 November – 31 March).
Fines differ as well
In most European countries, especially in Scandinavia, ignoring speed limits is not welcome. For example, some Finnish millionaire was fined EUR 54,000 for driving at a speed of 103 km/h instead of the permitted 80 km/h. The fine was calculated based on his income. In Scandinavian countries, fines for violating speed limits are just as high.
«Drivers should also keep in mind the widespread use of speed cameras and road police teams working in secret. This is why we urge drivers to carefully study information related to traffic rules of the countries they plan to travel to. Going Abroad app is very useful for this. It provides information on road traffic rules for all EU member states,» – reminds Liga Berzina.