EUCARIS, the European car and driving licence information system (EUCARIS)

Published on: 25/05/2009
Document

EUCARIS is an initiative of several European countries and can be described as a cooperation between several national registration authorities. Formalised in a multilateral treaty, this cooperation is focused on the data-exchange regarding vehicle registration, driving licences, and the accompanying personal data. For this exchange, a system is used which was especially developed for this purpose: EUCARIS II. It is essential to note that EUCARIS makes no use of a central European database. Each country is responsible for its own registry of vehicle and driving licence information and its own registration procedures.Through their national registration authority other governement institutions can request information on e.g. vehicles from another country. The national registration authority becomes a central hub in EUCARIS.

EUCARIS is a system on which several applications run. All serving a different legal basis, such as the EUCARIS Treaty, EU Council Decisions and several bilateral Treaties. The philosophy behind EUCARIS is that one single network within the area of road transport, connecting national registration authorities that serve as a national hub prevents expensive investment in several parrallel networks, servers, etc and a spagheti of connections between national authorities. Currently EUCARIS has got three different applications: one for the exchange of vehicle and driving licence data (EUCARIS Treaty, 15 Member States), one for vehicle owner/holder and insurance data (EU Council Decision 2008/JHA/615, now 6 MS, soon all 27 EU Member States) and information of traffic offenders (based on several bilateral Treaties). We hope to exchange more data over the same network in the near future and prevent developping new systems.

Policy Context

The registration in Europe of vehicle, driving licence and accompanying personal data is organised nationally. Each country has formally assigned the registration of these data to one or more dedicated governmental registration authorities. Due to the free flow of persons and goods within the EU these tasks can be performed less and less in isolation. For instance when a vehicle has to be registered, it has to be determined first whether this vehicle is not recorded as stolen elsewhere. Without this information a national registration authority may unwillingly legalise vehicles that have been stolen in other countries. A first form of cooperation in the field of data-exchange emerged in the early nineties. Five EU Member States were involved, (Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom). The organisation of cooperating States was named EUCARIS after the name of the implemented system, European Car and Driving Licence Information System. Nowadays the cooperation includes upto 29 (EU and EFTA) countries, depending on the type of data exchange. The organisation of the cooperation has been set up in a multilateral Treaty.

In the year 2005 another international cooperation entered into force. Here the mutual exchange of vehicle data is extended to the exchange of insurance and personal data of the vehicle owner/holder. This data-exchange is arranged in the so called Prüm Convention, later converted into EU Council Decisions 2008/JHA/615 and 616.

In recent years several countries have concluded bilateral Treaties in order to fine traffic offenders from abroad and so increase road safety. Whereas untill recently data was only exchanged via letters or floppy disks sent by mail EUCARIS now offers a service to safely transfer (personal) data between states. Information can be exchanged through file transfer (batch) or in real time.

Description of target users and groups

Governmental authorities which are responsible for the registration of motor vehicles and the issue of vehicle documents and driving licences. The system can also be used by governmental organisations responsible for tracking stolen vehicles, theft and fraud prevention, as well as prosecuting authorities, the police and customs and excise.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

All members are represented in the EUCARIS Participants' Board that normally gathers on a yearly basis. All strategic decisions are taken by this board. The Participants' Board appoints one member state as the secretary state. This state is assigned to the operational system management of EUCARIS. This includes monitoring, service desk support, development and deployment of new releases and reporting on the availibility of the system. A Technical Working Group in which all EUCARIS members and participants via Prüm (EU Council Decisions) are represented takes decisions on the technical specifications of the system.

Next to a help desk, the EUCARIS Secretariat also offers on site support for new members. Our ICT-experts travel across the continent to support other public administrations with their implementation of EUCARIS. One only pays for the travel expenses of our experts, other costs are covered by the general EUCARIS budget.

Also, users of EUCARIS can exchange there views, experise and experiences with each other and the system management during a bi-yearly User Conference.

Technology solution

EUCARIS is basically an application developed by the EUCARIS countries that enables them to exchange vehicle and driving licence information in a secure way. The application consists of two parts: - The multilingual web client application enables administrative personnel, police-officers etc. to perform inquiries in other countries via their browser. - The so-called ‘Core’ application is responsible for the secure handling and communication of the messages. Requests from other countries lead to a search in the national registry, resulting in a response or a ‘not-found’ message. On the other hand, requests from the own national users are sent all over Europe, and the incoming answers are collected and handed over to the web client. The main philosophy of EUCARIS is a direct ‘peer-to-peer’ communication, meaning that all countries communicate directly to one another, without any central component. Both synchronous (interactive) and asynchronous (batch) communication are supported.

Technology choice: Proprietary technology, Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

EUCARIS has got both social and financial benefits.

First of all EUCARIS n to the prevention, detection and prosecution of violations of law. In 2008 4.7 million cars were checked before re-registration in another country. **** inquiries let to a "hit", because the car turned out to be stolen, should have been scrapped, etc. EUCARIS thus helps to contribute to a safer society.

Also, ***** trafic fines were exchanged between The Netherlands and Germany alone. Since speeding is a severe threat to road safety, EUCARIS also helps making our roads safer by prosecuting foreign offenders on our motorways.

The system also plays a part in keeping the national vehicle and driving licence records accurate and up-to-date. The quick exchange of data increases the efficiency, efficacy and accuracy of administrative procedures and the registers. The strength of EUCARIS lies in the quick, interactive, exchange of data; this is crucial in the fight against car theft, registration and document fraud. The decentral registers show the original details; where documents can be forged, the register cannot. Direct access to the registers of participant countries ensures that up-to-date information is obtained.

Last but not least, EUCARIS also brings financial benefits to governements. Because one single network with national contact points is used, no new systems and networks have to be developped and no new hardware has to be bought. The complete management and development of EUCARIS costs to more than 375.000 euro per year. These costs are shared by already 21 countries, making EUCARIS a cheap system that doesn't waste any tax money.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

EUCARIS is mostly used by registration and police authorities. With the integration of the international data exchange of the EU Council Decisions 2008/JHA615 and 616 into EUCARIS, the system will be even more consulted by police authorities. EUCARIS offers the possibility to extend the system so it can support other Treaties or international agreements. All types of data can be exchanged through EUCARIS: traffic fines, parking tickets, extensive driving licence information, etc. EUCARIS offers the possibility to transfer complete files with information between countries. This prevents cd’s with private information getting lost in mail. File transfers open new possibilities for information exchange between member states. At this moment traffic fine information is being exchanged amongst a few countries. Future options are the exchange of information related to tolls, congestion charge, etc. All the costs for management and R&D expenditures are paid for by all member states. Therefore the yearly costs per member state remain low and keep EUCARIS an attractive way for exchanging information.

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1 - Having a system that does not include a central register, but is based on a decentralised cooperation between national registration authorities that remain the holder of all data. This makes the project politically much more feasible and easier to reach results.

Lesson 2- Fast implementation of new functionalities (like the integration of the Prüm Treaty / EU Council Decisions into EUCARIS). This is made possible by the EUCARIS organisational structure that allows to quickly react to changes.By acting fast and precise we remain a better alternative than implementing other parrellel systems.

Lesson 3 - By sharing all costs of EUCARIS, the costs per Member State remain low. This keeps EUCARIS financially attractive. Member states that only participate in, for example, the bilateral information exchange only pay for that functionality.

Scope: Cross-border, International, Pan-European