A wave of low emission zones coming into force across Europe this summer could see British drivers on holiday this summer face costly fines if they flout the rules.
Almost half (43%) of Britons planning trips are unaware of low emission zone restrictions in top destinations such as France and Spain where they are most likely to drive, new research by the Post Office found.
More than half (52%) were unaware of daily entry fees and permits required in many cities and 58% did not know about the requirement to display windscreen stickers showing the emissions levels of their vehicle.
In France ‘Crit Air’ emission stickers must be displayed and if not could result in fines of €68-€135.
The study also found that 42% of those planning to drive in Europe did not realise that speeding can carry spot fines.
Yet almost one-in-five (19%) admitted having incurred spot fines for speeding or violating other travel regulations on past trips to Europe.
Similar numbers (18%) said they had been given ULEZ-style fines for contravening low emission zone regulations and 47% were unaware that those with a paper driving licence issued before March 31, 2000 will need an international driving permit.
Post Office head of travel money Laura Plunkett said: “With flight costs reported to be soaring, it is understandable that so many Britons have decided to drive to Europe this summer.
“However, it is worrying that many people have not realised that driving laws have changed since their last trip and they could be risking big fines if they don’t learn the rules of the road.
“Popular destinations like France and Spain have long been operating spot fines so it is crucial for holiday motorists to carry foreign currency with them in case they are stopped for speeding or falling foul of new rules.”
Shea added: “Our pump price research found that the cost of filling up in Europe can vary by as much as £100 so we advise planning driving routes carefully before setting out to keep costs down.
“Save money by diverting from the motorway and trunk roads into local towns. Supermarket prices will be cheaper than on the roadside, just as they are here in the UK. Remember to carry some foreign currency as not all petrol stations in rural locations accept plastic.”