An estimated 2,500 British motorists are fined while driving around Europe every month, many of them unaware of wrongdoing and on holiday. British-based Euro Parking Collections (EPC) chases (sometimes bemusing) fines for around 150 authorities across the continent.
For each inquiry made by EPC the DVLA receives £2.50 – amounting to a projected £75,000 every year.
A DVLA spokesman muttered: “The DVLA does not release driver and keeper information to non-UK authorities to deal with parking enquiries or speeding penalties. However, a company called Euro Parking Collections, which is based in Great Britain, makes requests of DVLA for the registered keeper details of vehicles to pursue cases of parking contraventions on behalf of public sector authorities in EU member states.”
Even more incredibly, the fines often don’t apply to foreign drivers flouting British laws.
An AA Spokesperson confirmed: “There is nothing worse than having a penalty notice follow you home from abroad. Certainly we know that foreign-registered cars in the UK can flout the laws without too much worry because most councils find it hard if not impossible to follow these through. UK drivers don’t see why drivers of foreign plated cars should get away with many parking and other offences whilst they stump up for offences in UK. They feel it is a bit rich that other countries are happy to send UK drivers tickets in the post yet do not send enough back.”
Should British drivers refuse to pay the EU fines, they can face court action, have their car blacklisted or, should they return to the country in question, have their car impounded.