Increasing numbers of visitors and UK residents from other countries are putting a strain on our roads – both in terms of congestion and increasing the use of the emergency services and healthcare.
A report entitled The rise of EU drivers in the UK’, commissioned by car insurer LV=, calculates that the number of motorists who are former EU state immigrants has risen by 270,000 during the last six years and that HGV traffic from the EU has increased by a third. One in seven HGVs on UK roads is registered to another EU state.
LV= are calling for the European parliament to bring forward standard driving laws and road signs, and to ensure that motorists are subjected to the same rigour of driving test.
John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= general insurance, said: "For the safety and benefit of all drivers on UK roads – both UK and foreign nationals – we believe the tightening of driving standards across the EU should now be a government priority.
"When two vehicles from different countries are involved in an accident the current process is costly and slow, meaning that the most complex claims can take years to settle. This is because there are so many intermediaries involved in the negotiations. By tightening up driving and vehicle standards across the EU we can hopefully reduce the number of accidents."
Steve Green, chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police and Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on road policing, said: "We are aware that with the changing economy and cultural diversity brought about by the development of the EU, there has been a significant increase in the number of foreign nationals using our roads. This obviously has an impact on congestion and puts additional pressure on the Police and emergency services. However we are working closely with the Department for Transport to ensure that our legislation and policing methods are evolving to make dealing with foreign national drivers easier."
The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) has found that collisions involving EU drivers have risen by 61.4 per cent from 11,685 to 18,865 since 2001.