The UK has given traffic enforcement officials new powers to crack down on road offenders.

Under the new laws drivers living outside the UK will no longer be able to escape the penalties faced by UK offenders. On-the-spot payments can be collected from alleged offenders who cannot provide a satisfactory UK address and those caught committing an offence will also have penalty points put on their UK driving record.

Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA) examiners will for the first time be able to issue fixed penalty notices to drivers of heavy goods vehicles from both the UK and abroad, in addition to immobilising vehicles where driving hours, weight or vehicle safety rules have been broken.

Road Safety Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick said that any driver who breaks the rules of the road will have to face the consequences.

“The only way for drivers and hauliers to avoid tough penalties will be to obey our traffic laws and ensure their vehicles are fully roadworthy,” Fitzpatrick said.

ACPO Lead for Roads Policing Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, said that the scheme would allow law enforcement agencies to deal more effectively with non-UK residents and drivers committing commercial vehicle offences.

“Enforcing road safety legislation fairly and consistently against all offenders no matter where they live, have come from or are going to, will ensure our roads are safer and help us reduce death and injury,” Giannasi said.

From this week drivers without a satisfactory UK address who commit traffic offences will have to pay a financial penalty deposit equal to the amount of the fixed penalty or £300 as a deposit in respect of a potential court fine.

The new measures will also enable the Police and VOSA to immobilise any vehicle that has been prohibited from continuing a journey where a driver is breaking the rules on drivers’ hours; is driving an overloaded or non-roadworthy vehicle; or in cases where a driver refuses to pay a requested financial deposit.

By Daniel Garrun.