Below are a few driving regulations you may not have known about regarding driving in France.
PHONING AT THE WHEEL
HANDS FREE mobile-phone use is banned in France as from July 1st. The new rule applies to all hands-free phones using a headset, bluetooth or wired. Drivers caught using a mobile phone while on the road in France are liable to an on-the-spot fine of € 135 Euros. The only type of mobile phone now legal to use in France while driving is one that is entirely hands-free and headphone free.
SPEED CAMERAS IN FRANCE
There are now in France over 150 unmarked police vehicles equipped with on board speed cameras. Most of these – but not all – patrol on motorways, or other trunk routes, but they are now operating throughout France, on minor roads too. Since recording speed from a moving vehicle is not quite a perfect art, there is a slight tolerance; but vehicles clocked at over 140 Km/h in a 130 stretch of motorway are liable to get pulled a ticket and may be pulled over for an on-the-spot fine.
Most of the cameras are on board unmarked Renault Mégane, Citroën Berlingo or Peugeot 208 police cars, so they are not easy to detect. However, drivers are unlikely to notice one until it’s too late, if they notice them at all. Thanks to new technology, these new speed camera cars can even flash vehicles going in the opposite direction.
Beware also of average speed cameras, which record your speed between two points, often several kilometres apart. These are increasingly showing up on normal main roads, and they are not always indicated in advance. When they are indicated, it is just with the normal speed camera warning sign. So be warned! Observe speed limits, and you won’t have any problems!
French Breathalyser Law
Carrying a breathalyser with you in the car is a legal requirement in France… – at least in theory. BUT this is a wonderful law that you are free to observe or not observe, as there is no penalty for drivers caught without a breathalyser in their car.
Single-use certified breathalysers are now available in many supermarkets, chemists and garages throughout France, at a cost of about 1 €uro each. So the cost is minimal.
Contrary to information posted on some sites, the new law (Decree no 2012-284) does not oblige drivers to self-test after having a drink. But those who plan to self-test to be on the safe side should have at least two breathalysers in the car, if not more.
To conclude – breathalyser or not – don’t drink and drive. And remember that the tolerated blood alcohol level in France is 0.5 mg. per ml.
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, were supposed to 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: then it was postponed again to placate protesting Breton lorry-drivers. A new revised and slimmed down version of the system was scheduled for January 2015, but in the end the whole project was scrapped.
Final score: truck-drivers’ lobby: 1 French government: nil….. we should all take a lesson from this.
Checklist of items to have when driving,
Proof of vehicle ownership (log book)
Spare set of bulbs & fuses
Hazard warning triangle
Hi Viz jackets (at least for the driver if not all passengers)
Finally, If you haven’t done it before …. Driving on the right is best practiced IN FRANCE ….. don’t attempt to do this while still on this little green sod.