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Driving Abroad: Can I Ignore A Parking Ticket?

By Stephen Turvil | June 15, 2015

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Risks Of Ignoring Foreign Issued Parking Ticket

Driving Abroad: Can I Ignore A Parking Ticket?
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A UK motorist that receives a foreign parking ticket might be tempted to ignore it - but this can be costly. The law – and how strictly it is enforced – varies from country to country but there are trends. If a motorist parks illegally the fine often has to be received within a specified period. The Italians have a year whereas the Germans have three months, for example. The key message, therefore, is that even if an offence has been committed months earlier on a long forgotten holiday it can still be punished.

If the motorist fails to pay within a specified time – typically sixty days – the fine could be increased. More significantly, it might be passed to a debt collector that corresponds in a manner the driver finds intimidating. If the fine is still not paid the collector could pursue the matter via the courts. Here the cost rises again. In reality, however, how far a collector is prepared to chase could be limited by practicalities such as cost, the likelihood of a favourable ruling, and - even if successful – whether the driver is able to pay the fine and any court imposed costs. However, it is risky to assume the debt collector will yield. 

How Foreign Authorities Trace A UK Motorist

A motorist that commits a parking offence abroad is easier to trace than some people recognise. A vehicle hire company, for example, has a name and postal address to pass to the authorities. The company might also add a charge to the motorist's credit card for passing on these details. This is in addition to any fine and, often, allowed under the terms and conditions the driver agreed to.

A motorist in a privately owned vehicle is harder to trace as the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency cannot pass keeper details to foreign authorities. Ireland is an exception. However, the United Kingdom is legally committed to a European Directive from 2017 which ensures the authorities can access the required information. It is part of a European-wide initiative to make the roads safer and ensure that dangerous drivers are held to account for (say) speeding, drink-driving, using a mobile, and poor lane disincline.

Too Risky To Ignore Parking Ticket Issued Abroad

The bottom line is that ignoring a foreign parking ticket is too risky. This strategy might pay off, but it is equally likely to ensure that a small – and low cost - inconvenience escalates into an expensive, all absorbing, problem which takes months to resolve.

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