Updated French Traffic Laws

Discussion in 'Travel' started by happybonzo, Jan 3, 2012.

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  1. Tougher Road Traffic Laws in France

    Quite a few of us go to France on holiday or business and thought these updates may be of interest to you

    A decree containing a number of miscellaneous provisions affecting French road traffic law will be published this week bringing into force a series of tougher measures applying to drivers on French roads.

    [h=3]• End of the road for radar warning devices[/h]Equipment which detects a radar signal has always been banned in France but the new laws take matters a step further by banning ‘driver aids’ which incorporate data giving a warning of where speed cameras are located. Arguably, this information is already in the public domain with Michelin maps, for example, posting details of fixed radar positions but in the face of opposition both from motorists’ organisations and satnav manufacturers, the French government has decided to press ahead with this measure.
    Already, some manufacturers of satnav equipment have taken the lead by stopping the inclusion of data on speed traps in new equipment but, for users of existing equipment, compliance with the new law will depend on whether they bother to connect up with a manufacturer’s website for a software update to remove what will become the prohibited software. For the police, enforcing the new law will not be an easy task particularly as many vehicles now come with embedded software systems which the non-technologically inclined driver may find difficult to disengage.

    Nonetheless, the penalty for the new offence is steep – a fine of up to 1500 € and the loss of up to 6 points on a driver’s licence.

    [h=3]• Using a telephone while driving – fine increased[/h]Up till now, the fine for using a mobile whilst driving in France had been set at what had almost become a nominal 35 € and loss of 2 points on a French licence. From this week, the penalty for using a mobile phone whilst driving in France will go up to 135 € with the loss of 3 points.

    [h=3]• Watch a movie while driving[/h]There have been sporadic reports from police in the South of France that lorry drivers, particularly foreign ones, watching movies whilst driving had become a particular concern. Drivers caught watching a movie whilst at the wheel will now face a fine of 1500 €, instead of the present tariff of 135 €. In addition, either 2 or 3 points will be deducted from a driver’s licence and any audio-visual equipment used will be confiscated.

    [h=3]• Straying on to the hard shoulder on autoroutes[/h]The principal cause of drivers straying on to the hard shoulder is driver fatigue and up till now, straying temporarily into the emergency lane on autoroutes in France was not an offence. Under pressure from autoroute companies anxious for the safety of their workforces, the French government has introduced a new offence, effectively of clipping the hard shoulder, for which the penalty will be 135 €. Also, the existing fine for driving on the hard shoulder on French autoroutes increases from 35 € to 135 €.

    [h=3]• New laws for motorcyclists on French roads[/h]The decree also covers the requirement for motorcyclists riding a motor-bike with an engine capacity exceeding 125 c.c. to wear a reflective garment. The French Department of Transport has still to define the criteria for reflective garments and the measure compelling motor-cyclists on French roads to wear something hi-viz will not come into effect before 1st January 2013. In the case of non-compliance, the offender would be liable to a fine of 68 € with a 2 point licence deduction.

    There is also an alteration to the law concerning non-conforming number plates which applies to all road-users but especially bikers. The penalty for driving with a non-conforming plate increases from 68 € to 135 €. The Ministry of Transport will also introduce a new regulation concerning the size of registration plates carried by motor-bikes with the aim of making motor bikes more identifiable, especially if flashed by a speed camera.

    [h=3]• Alcolock[/h]Local authorities have already begun to introduce on-board driver’s breath testing equipment on French school buses and as we reported earlier on 1st December 2011 ‘France heads towards mandatory in-car breathalysers’, such equipment will become mandatory in all vehicles.

    [h=3]• Magistrates to have direct access to French National Drivers’ Database[/h]This procedural measure should allow magistrates to better dispose of road traffic cases coming before them. Up till now, a magistrate had to make individual application for a driver’s previous convictions and points deducted history. Sometimes, if the necessary information was not forthcoming timeously, the offender could face a lesser penalty than would otherwise have been the case. Under the new procedure, magistrates should, in theory, have a driver’s history and previous convictions ‘at their fingertips’.
  2. Forgive me but the British media have really jumped the gun. For those of us who live, work and drive here it is all very clear. But as I have said many times - as it is election time a lot of plans have been put on hold. For the moment!

    Example: Roadsigns removed (May 2011)
    Public reaction within 24 hours...
    New indicator signs went up (June 2011)

    Instead of a warning sign, there is supposed to be a sign informing you of your speed instead.

    Similar fiasco with fixed speed cameras and detectors. Announce policy. Get informed that it won't work. Change mind, but refuse to back down and say that they are no longer fixed camera warnings but rather devices informing you of dangerous areas which require you to reduce your speed.

    The breath test things have been cropping up in proposals for a couple months. Originally a minister or someone higher up (but quite short so not really higher up...) suggested a device be fitted to all cars to immobilise them if the device showed alcohol limit exceeded. Then, they realised it would be a very costly measure before elections, so that was swept under the carpet. How about a drug test kit as that is a major cause of accidents too? This week journalists have been pointing out that teetotallers will have to buy something they will never use, while hardened drinkers won't bother to test before driving in any case. Latest official announcement from a minister was to say it would happen "in the spring". Obviously momentarily forgetting there are elections in the spring.

    At present there is a lot of confusion – hopefully which ever party wins the election in the spring will produce some definitive guidelines for the poor, confused, foreign drivers.

    Just a thought, does kissing a Gendarme count as a breath test? :giggle::giggle::giggle:
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    I'll give it a try next time I get pulled and let you know how it went....... :)
  4. Shall we deal with this one first, UK Law states that you can be fined £60 and accrue
    3 Penalty Points on your License for using(this actually means holding) a Mobile whilst
    driving, whether you are using it or not.
    If your Vehicle is fitted with an 'Hands Free' device, you can still be fined for using
    'Hands Free' if you are deemed to be 'Not in full control of the Vehicle' not only that
    if you are driving a Company Vehicle (LGV or Car) the Person who actually called you
    can also be fined.
    I wouldn't worry too much about what is going on over the Stream, most of it has
    been here for a while, remember VOSA is your friend, feed him often!
  5. I'm sure he'd prefer a kiss from Toyah Wilcox.
  6. What are the French police's opinions on getting road head while driving around? Do you get points for that too?
  7. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    Only if you're checking for garlic.
  8. be aware , that if you parked up your car, engine isn't running , but key is still in...you will be fined!!
  9. I've never heard anything so ridiculous. Where's the link to an authoritative site where this is stated?

  10. Heh.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Maybe somebody should read and understand the legislation - Road Traffic Act, Section 3, Road Safety Act 2006 UK or Code De La Route 2011, France. No where in said documents is there an offence as described........................ Scaremongering in the extreme............................ absolute hog wash
  12. AeM, I agree.....This is a quote from the 2011 FTA Year Book Of Transport Law.

    "Since December 2003 it has been an offence to drive (or cause or permit someone
    else to drive) a vehicle if you are using a hand held Mobile Phone or other type of
    hand held communication device (other than a two way radio).
    A Mobile Phone or device is considered hand held if it is, or must be, held at some
    point during the course of making or receiving a communication.

    At the time of writing the penalties for the specific offence of using a hand held
    phone or device is a fixed penalty of £60 or (if taken to court) a fine of up to £2500
    if driving a goods vehicle/passenger carrying vehicle, or £1000 in any other case.
    However, proposals are being considered to increase the penalty to include obligatory
    endorsement of three penalty points and discretionary disqualification (
    USE) Drivers could also be prosecuted for failing to have proper control of the
    vehicle or the more serious offence of dangerous driving.
    There are exemptions where it is unsafe or impracticable to cease driving and you
    are using the equipment to:

    - call the Police, Fire, Ambulance or other Emergency Service on 112 or 999
    - act in response to a genuine emergency.

    All this information is on Page 24 of the afore-mentioned publication.

    I also agree with our Breton Beauty!
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Surely all the drivers are foreigners... Brits don't go there often.

  14. Back to driving through Belgique it is then.
  15. Can I just let everyone know about the 'Big Wheelers' Group, it is mainly a group where
    LGV Drivers can have their own discussions etc..however there are a couple of Links
    on there that would benefit ALL drivers travelling across the Channel or even more
    importantly driving on the Continent.

    There is a widespread belief that LGV Drivers are, shall we say, not the brightest stars
    in the sky but this is where we come into our own and the depth of our accumulated
    knowledge will surprise most people who are not invoved in the Transport Industry.

    Some of the above posts would never have been posted by LGV Drivers, they/we know
    better........any questions you have, with ref. to the above use 'Big Wheelers' then we
    can use the Main body of this wonderful site for taking the piss....as usual!!!!!!!!