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European Driving Offences: What you need to know

You've planned your European road trip, and your Green Flag European Driving Kit is packed and ready to go, so what's next?

It’s important to familiarise yourself with the driving laws of each country you are visiting, ahead of your trip. As a UK motorist visiting and driving in another European country, you are liable if you break a motoring law, which could lead to prosecution when back in the UK. No one wants their holiday ruined by hefty fines, so take the time to get to know the local driving laws in the country you’re visiting. 

Are European driving laws different to UK laws?


Although the driving laws in Europe don’t vary greatly from the ones in the UK, the fines that are associated with breaking these laws do differ quite significantly!

Speeding Laws in Europe


Just like the UK, you must always adhere to signs on the roadside and limit your speed accordingly. Speeding is as much an issue across Europe as it is in the UK.

Be aware that it is against the law in some European countries to use devices which detect the location of speed cameras; check your satnav or dashcam to see if it has this built-in feature as it could mean you are breaking the law. Jammers which block the signal of speed detection devices are illegal across the UK and Europe.

Drink Driving Laws in Europe


The drink-driving limit for drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, while in Scotland, this is now 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 22 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. The limit in Scotland is in line with most other European countries, so be aware of your limits, or better still, do not drink and drive at all. Some countries have tighter laws for commercial drivers or those drivers who have recently qualified to drive.

Driving while using a mobile phone or other handheld devices


This driving offence is not tolerated in the UK or any other European countries. 

Wearing Seatbelts


It should go without saying that it is vital that the driver and all passengers in the car wear their seatbelts. Across Europe, not wearing a seatbelt is against the law and will incur a fine. 

Also ensure that babies and young children are travelling in the legal car seat/booster seat appropriate to their age, weight and height.

European Driving Fines by Country


Offence & potential fine (always check local laws and regulations prior to travel, fines detailed are an indication only and may vary)

Speeding examples based upon travelling at 71km/h in an urban area where the limit is 50km/h. On other roads and at other speeds, fines and/or driving bans will apply.

Belgium
Speeding - €150
Drink-driving - €179
Mobile Phone Usage - €116
Not wearing a seat belt - €116
Speed camera detector - Illegal, no fixed penalty

France
Speeding - €135
Drink-driving - €135
Mobile Phone Usage - €135
Not wearing a seat belt- €135
Speed camera detector - €1,500

Germany
Speeding - €80
Drink-driving - €500
Mobile Phone Usage - €100
Not wearing a seat belt- €30
Speed camera detector - Illegal, no fixed penalty

Ireland
Speeding - €80
Drink-driving - €200
Mobile Phone Usage - €60
Not wearing a seat belt - €60
Speed camera detector - Illegal, no fixed penalty

The Netherlands
Speeding - €203
Drink-driving - €300
Mobile Phone Usage - €240
Not wearing a seat belt- €140
Speed camera detector - €420

Spain
Speeding - €150
Drink-driving - €500
Mobile Phone Usage - €200
Not wearing a seat belt- €200
Speed camera detector - €200***