Everyday tales and stories from the border regions of Europe and beyond, with the aim of explaining why we border-crossers are as obsessed as we are about this subject, why it is important to all of us, and why the co-operation community needs a little bit more visibility than it normally gets.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Naughty Irish cross-border drivers

I quite enjoyed this story on the BBC this week about drivers from Ireland running up thousands of pounds in driving fines in Northern Ireland (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7852597.stm). In fact, it's a bit cruel really - the UK economy needs every penny it can get at the moment.

Actually, the EU is trying to address this issue through the snappily-titled proposal for a "Directive facilitating cross-border enforcement in the field of road safety" (http://preview.tinyurl.com/chf7uj). In fact, the proposed Directive only covers the following at present: (a) speeding; (b) drink-driving; (c) non-use of a seat-belt; (d) failing to stop at a red traffic light and not parking fines - it's more difficult to justify bad parking as a road safety issue perhaps, although when you see the idiots that park on pedestrian crossings or in bus lanes, I think a case could be made. I am certainly surprised that using a mobile phone while driving is not on the list: that is clearly a safety issue.

I can see the road lobby moaning vociferously about this, but the Border-Crosser has very little sympathy - why should you be allowed to drive badly with impunity just because you live across the border? After all, there's an even easier way of avoiding a fine - don't break the law.

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