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 manufacturers 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 drivers 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 drivers 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 drivers 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 drivers 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 drivers history and previous convictions at their fingertips.