European Parliament takes stride towards safer roads and fairer access across the EU

In a significant move welcomed by Eurocities, POLIS, and the CLARS platform, the European Parliament recently voted on the cross-border enforcement directive (CBE Directive), extending its scope to cover violations of rules on vehicle-access restrictions.

While the decision fell short of encompassing all vehicle-access restrictions, our organisations view this development as a positive step towards fair and efficient enforcement across European cities.

The extension of the CBE Directive to include vehicle-access restrictions signifies a crucial acknowledgement of the challenges faced by local enforcement authorities. By addressing disparities among drivers based on the location of their vehicle registration, the directive aims to alleviate the burden on authorities and promote equitable treatment of all drivers.

What POLIS, Eurocities, and CLARS have to say

Expressing her views on the outcome, Karen Vancluysen, POLIS Secretary General, emphasised the importance of fairness and efficiency in enforcing Urban Vehicle Access Regulations (UVARs). While acknowledging the progress made, she stressed the need for further action by the European Commission to fully address the needs of cities striving for clean air and climate neutrality.

André Sobczak, Eurocities Secretary-General, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the significance of EU policymakers addressing local traffic rule enforcement issues. Sobczak emphasized the practical necessity of a European approach to tackle such challenges, particularly as Europe approaches an election year.

Lucy Sadler, CLARS Coordinator, welcomed the inclusion of road safety UVARs, stating:

'We welcome the inclusion of road safety UVARs that will help make roads safer, and the revision clause to resolve the issue of enforcing the remaining UVARs to make roads greener and cities more pleasant. We look forward to the next steps that will enable cross-border enforcement of all vehicle access regulations.'

Sadler emphasised the EU's pivotal role in addressing such challenges, showcasing its unique ability to take action that no other institution could.

The background

In a concerted effort to bolster road safety and ensure more stringent enforcement of traffic regulations, the European Parliament and Council presidency struck a provisional agreement on a proposal amending the 2015 directive on the cross-border exchange of information on road safety-related traffic offences. This pivotal development forms part of the broader ‘road safety’ legislative package, aimed at fostering safer and greener mobility across the European Union.

The revised legislation, born out of collaborative negotiations, underscores the commitment to enhancing road safety by imposing stricter penalties for traffic violations, including breaches of vehicle access restrictions. By expanding the scope of enforcement measures, the legislation aims to cultivate safer driving practices on European roads while fostering equitable treatment for all EU drivers, regardless of their nationality.

Looking ahead

Georges Gilkinet, Belgian Minister for Mobility, expressed satisfaction with the swift agreement reached between the Council and the European Parliament, emphasising its significance in bolstering road safety measures. The proposed revisions to the cross-border enforcement directive align with the EU's broader objectives of reducing road deaths and serious injuries by 50% by 2030.

The legislative journey of the cross-border enforcement directive underscores the EU's commitment to fostering cooperation and innovation in addressing road safety challenges. Moving forward, the formal adoption and implementation of the revised directive will mark a significant milestone in the EU's ongoing efforts to create safer and more sustainable transport systems for all citizens.