Foreign motorists flouting UK laws

Car with parking ticketsBritain's roads are awash with foreign motorists evading tax, fines and safety checks by driving cars that are registered overseas, new figures indicate.

Local authorities believe that there could be 30,000 foreign registered cars on our roads, despite laws stating that foreign cars must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) within six months.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

The rules on foreign registered cars are designed to enable the DVLA to ensure the vehicles are taxed, insured and roadworthy, while also giving the police to power to prosecute those driving them for speeding and parking offences.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "All vehicles on the roads must abide by the same rules whether they are registered here or abroad and that includes making sure that the vehicle is roadworthy.

"The DVLA keeps details of vehicles reported to them and if there is evidence that a vehicle has been in the country for longer it can be subject to enforcement action."

However, even he admits that the Government has no idea how many foreign motorists are flouting the law.

The problem with this is not only that thousands of drivers are able to side-step parking fines and other penalties, it is also that some of the cars may be in a poor condition - potentially making the roads more dangerous for law-abiding British drivers.

Nick Lester, London Councils' corporate services director, said: "There are a number of issues such as road worthiness.

"They don't get their UK MoT and the country in which the car was originally registered is not going to be interested either."

Illegals vehicles are not the only issue, though. The revelation about the number of illegal foreign registered vehicles on UK roads follows a decision earlier this month to tighten up the rules on obtaining a UK driving licence due to concerns about driving standards.

Requests to exchange driving licences from outside the EU will now only be accepted if the licence holder can prove they passed a driving test in a country where the testing standards are comparable with those in Britain as a result.

Hammond told the BBC: "It is obvious to everyone that drivers who have not been through a rigorous driving test will not be as safe as those who have.

"This change in the law will mean we can be sure that any foreign drivers exchanging their licence here have already passed a test of a similar standard to ours."

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