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Foreign Road Fines - To Pay Or Not To Pay?

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Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy

At a loose end one cold weekend, we hired a car and drove from London to the gorgeous little village of Rye in East Sussex. Apart from a few hiccups (mainly my map navigating skills) we arrived safely but were unable to find any parking spots. "Never fear", HE said, "we'll park in this car park and I'll move the car in the morning."

YEAH RIGHT. After a sleep in HE rushed down to move the car and found it had a big fat parking infringement ticket slapped across the windscreen. Total damage, eighty quid for a ten minute sleep in.

Now eighty pound seemed like quite a lot to me, and just how were they going to enforce us to pay? He is on an Australian licence and I am on a Kiwi one. I did some research, and here is what I found.............

In the UK, foreign drivers get away with not paying 180,000 speeding and parking fines every year because the British authorities cannot trace them. In Edinburgh alone, tourists (on non UK licences) have escaped paying £700,000 worth of fines because the owners do not live in Britain.

The problem has reached such heights that some Brits are trying to buy foreign registered cars in order to get away with not paying the outrageous fines and infringements that are part of the British way of life.

Now it does pay to research your country of choice before violating road rules, for instance a friend of mine was in Australia using her New Zealand driver’s licence. A police officer pulled her over and issued her with a ticket. 'No problem' she thought, 'I'll go back home - they wont catch up with me'. WRONG, apparently New Zealand and Australia are linked...the ticket turned up at her mothers house in little old Nelson, with instructions on how to pay in New Zealand. The efficiency of Down Under is so frustrating!

Another interesting story is of a New Zealander in the UK who received a speed camera fine. She was on a British licence and was facing certain demerit points. Instead of admitting the fine she told the authorities a friend on a New Zealand licence was driving the vehicle. She paid the fine but the demerit points were wavered as it is simply impossible to chase tourists all over the world (please note that this is statutory declaration and being caught out in a lie is a serious offence).

In our case, I called the parking violation office in Rye and informed them we were on foreign licences and didn’t know how to pay. "That’s you luck aint it!' the woman at the office said and ripped up the traffic offence on the spot. Very dishonest but then again so is charging eighty pounds!

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