What you need to know about Speeding Fines in Europe

What you need to know about speeding fines in Europe including the French, Spanish and German laws and well as how a speeding ticket abroad can affect your UK licence.

The most common fine in the UK for driving offences is speeding. The same is true in Europe. But when you are travelling there on holiday, you should be aware that different rules apply in different countries and the fines can vary as well. France is often the country that’s easiest to get to by car from the UK and French speeding fines can be steep. If you get a speeding ticket in France, it’s good to know what you could be paying. The last thing you need is to make a dent in your holiday money.

What should I do if I get a speeding ticket in Europe?

The best thing you can do if you get a speeding ticket while you’re abroad is to pay it as soon as you receive the fine rather than ignoring it. Fines can double if you choose to ignore them and a local debt collection agency may be used to recoup the money.

The time between the offence and when you receive the punishment varies from country to country and can be up to 360 days after the offence, as is the case with Italy.

If you get a speeding fine in Europe, you usually have up to 60 days to appeal, if you feel there are grounds to why you shouldn’t have been fined.

In France, Spain, Italy and Germany, there is currently no system in place to implement points on a UK licence when found to be speeding. Also, if you receive a fine in any of these countries, you can choose to appeal the speeding ticket.

French speeding fines

  • French speed cameras only allow a tolerance of 5% over the speed limit, which is half of what the UK allows.
  • The standard speeding fine in France is 135 euros. However, if you pay this within 15 days it’s 90 euros. If you pay it after 45 days, it is 375 euros. If the offence warrants a trial, the maximum fine can be up to 750 euros.
  • If police stop you, you'll be required to pay the fine on the spot.

Spanish speeding fines

  • Spain has a graded system for speeding fines, which is measured by how much the limit has been exceeded by.
  • The entry-level penalty is 100 euros. However, the most serious offences can attract a fine of 600 euros.
  • If police stop you, you'll be required to pay the fine on the spot.

German speeding fines

  • Germany has some of the lowest fines in Europe for speeding starting from just 35 euros but rising to over 600 euros if you overly exceed the set speed limit.
  • Be aware that the tolerance for speed cameras is even lower than it is in France at just 3% over the speed limit.
  • The police in Germany is more concerned with drivers who are too close to the vehicle in front than speeding.

Italian speeding fines

  • If you have been caught speeding in Italy, it’s not unusual for it to be a year or more before you receive a ticket. If you receive a ticket after a year then legally you do not have to pay.
  • Fines range from 35 euros if you’re driving under 10kph over the limit to 357 euros if you’re driving more than 41kph over the limit.

Do I need to pay a fine if I was driving a rental car?

Yes – car hire companies will always insist that the driver is responsible for traffic fines and any related fees. When you sign the rental agreement, you're agreeing to pay any traffic fines, plus any administration costs that the car hire company charges to deal with. This may mean that the total amount to pay may be higher than if you were driving a private vehicle. Rental companies will also pass on the details of the speeding offence to the DVLA and the UK authorities.

What happens if I don’t pay the fine?

Once you’re back in the UK, do not assume that the speeding ticket is void. UK motorists who break the speed limit while driving in places like France, Germany or Switzerland can still be chased for penalties and fines once they are back on home soil. Likewise, if you attempt to hire a care in another foreign country, you may be refused as the DVLA can pass on the details of drivers from the UK who owe a penalty to countries that request them.

As in the UK, if you don’t pay a speeding ticket, you’ll be penalised. The longer you leave it, the higher the penalties become. Failure to pay after a reasonable amount of time will ultimately lead to a trial. UK drivers can also be banned or even jailed in the UK for speeding offences committed abroad.

Since the introduction of the cross-border enforcement in 2017, it’s much easier for European countries to prosecute UK offenders even after they have returned home, so we’d recommend paying the fine as soon as it’s issued.

Should you tell your insurer about any foreign driving offences?

Whether to tell your insurer depends on their specific policy. If, for instance, you’re applying for insurance online, selecting the code for an offence committed abroad may not even be an option on your insurer’s site.

It’s worth checking the small print of their policy to decipher what needs to be declared and what doesn’t.

If you’re still stuck, give your insurer a call.

If you’re going abroad, don’t forget to purchase car hire excess insurance along with your car hire cover to make sure you’re protected when abroad.

About the author

Adam Summersby - blog author, car hire excess insurance business unit directorThis is a marketing article from insurance4carhire by our car hire excess insurance business unit director, Adam Summersby. Adam is a respected leader with 11 years’ varied experience in niche personal and commercial lines insurance, including caravan, site operators and excess reimbursement, with proficiency in leadership, sales and account management.

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