Motoring Regulation in France

Changes in French driving rules regulations and laws.

In the past two years a number of regulations and road traffic laws have in changed in France.

– Speed Cameras

A number of changes have taken place in French laws and regulations. Which apply to all motorists driving on French road.

Since March 2013 The France authorities have introduced new hidden mobile speed cameras. A number of these are now operating onboard unmarked police cars. They are located mostly on the main north-south motorways routes. As well as the ban on warning devices, the French government is installing around 400 new, unsigned, fixed speed cameras as well as taking down signs indicating the location of existing camera sites.

If you’re a regular driver on French roads you will be aware of this new speed detection initiative. But the regulations apply to the occasional visitor as well, so be aware if you are just off the many Ferries after renting an apartment with and driving to the Provence, Gascony, Brittany or a weekend to beautiful Paris be careful on the roads On motorways there is a slight tolerance; but vehicles clocked at over 140 Km/h in a 130 stretch of motorway are liable to get pulled over. It is planned to deploy a hundred of the new cars June 2014.

Satnav and speed camera alerts

Since 3 January 2012 French laws have prohibited drivers from carrying any device capable of detecting speed cameras. This includes products or devices able to warn or inform of the location of speed cameras e.g. Satnav or gps systems capable of showing speed camera sites as Points of Interest.

The law is primarily aimed at speed camera detectors and sat-navs. It is unlikely that the French police will turn their attention to atlases but there is no guarantee this would be the case.

If you have a satnav capable of displaying French camera locations in France then you must at least disable camera alerts. Contact the manufacturer for advice too as a software or database update is likely to be available that will remove camera data for France from the device.

If you have a satnav system built into your car then contact the vehicle manufacturer in the first instance.

With regard to TomToms and other GPS systems, which have speed camera locations programmed in to their software, the situation is confusing. These are not officially “radar detectors”, but manufacturers are obliged to make new software available, and most have done so. Tomtoms and other GPS systems are technically in breach of the law if they still have radars listed in their Points of Interest software; and even if it is not clear how roadside police can stop and check for offending software, rather than hardware, drivers are warned to err on the side of precaution and download the latest map software for France. This is advisable anyway, since older software is not up to date with regard to new routes, new speed restrictions, and other changes.

For both existing radar warning devices and GPS devices, current radar information is being replaced with warnings to announce “danger zones”, many of which will be areas with speed cameras.

– French Breathalyzer law

In March 2012 – the French government confirmed that from 1 July 2012 drivers of all motor vehicles and motorcycles (excluding mopeds) must carry a breathalyzer.

Ok so you never drink and drive but the regulation is there so prudent to comply with same. The cost of a single-use certified breathalyzer is about €1 and can be purchased in many supermarkets, chemists and garages throughout France.

Remember that the legal limit of blood alcohol level in France 0.5 mg. per ml – just over half the legal limit in the UK (0.8 mg per ml).

The regulation will be enforced from 1 November 2012 they were originally going to enforce a €11 on the spot fine but decided against that so now there is no fine. Yes hard to understand the sense behind the whole issue

So theoretically you are still required to carry a self-test breathalyzer when driving in France but there is no current legislation demanding a fine for non-compliance.

The original official announcement stated that one unused, certified breathalyzer must be produced showing the French certification mark NF. Carrying two single-use breathalyzers will ensure that if one is used or damaged, you will still have a spare to produce. The breathalyzer produced has to be in date – single-use breathalyzers normally have a validity of twelve months.

– Reflective clothing for motorcyclists

January 2012 – the French government announced that from 1 January 2013 all drivers and passengers of a motorcycle over 125cc or a motor tricycle over 15 KW/h must wear reflective clothing when riding their vehicles and in the event of an emergency stop/breakdown.

January 2013 – the French government announced that the law that made reflective equipment compulsory for motorcycle riders and passengers in France from 1 January has been abolished.

The requirement was to have been that clothing must have a minimum reflective surface of 150cm2 (approx 23in2) in total, either in one piece or in several pieces, and must be worn between the neck and waist.

If you’re a regular visitor or planning a longer journey through France you might be interested in the latest offering from the French road tolling authority. Sanef France has extended the Liber-t automated French tolls payment service to UK motorists through Sanef Tolling.

Enables UK motorists to use the automatic telepeage/tag lanes, which have previously been reserved for French residents.

PHONING AT THE WHEEL BEWARE…. Drivers caught using a mobile phone while on the road in France are liable to an on-the-spot fine of 130 Euros – and 3 penalty points if they have a French driving licence.

STRANGE GANTRIES SPANNING MAIN ROADS In recent months, hundreds of strange gantries have been erected over French roads. Contrary to popular belief, they are not average speed cameras, but HGV eco-tax cameras. All HGVs, including foreign ones, will be liable to this new carbon tax, also being introduced in other European countries. The start date for the Ecotax system was first scheduled for July 2013, then 1st Jan. 2014: now it has been postponed again to placate protesting Breton lorry-drivers.


Find Holiday Rentals by Tags:

self catering France, holiday lets France, holiday rentals France, self catering Paris, holiday lets Paris, accommodation in Paris, holiday accommodation France

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *