Driving in France?

Ensure you’re not caught out when driving in France

Each year three million Britons drive their car abroad with the majority travelling through France. However many are unaware of the new law recently imposed by the French government which could see many drivers presented with a fine. It is therefore important that you are aware of this new regulation.

On 1st July new legislation brought in by the French government requires all motorists to carry a breathalyser kit in their car and, if caught without one, will face a fine of €11 (£9.00). Single-use breathalyser kits are available from as little as £2 and should be available from ferry port shops and other high-street retailers; it is a good idea to carry at least two single-use kits so if one is required a spare is still available, preventing a fine being issued if stopped by the French police.

The French drink driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, lower than the UK limit of 80mg. Motorists that are found with between 50mg and 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood could be fined €135 (£109) and face six points on their driving licence. If the driver is above 80mg then they could face a fine of €4,500 (£3,629), lose their licence and be sent to prison for up to two years.

Doubts have been cast on the accuracy of breathalyser kits and the general rule is if you drive don’t drink or if you drink don’t drive.

People driving in France are already required to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest in the main section of their car. In addition they must display a GB plate and have their headlights adjusted to the right. Satellite navigation systems that detect speed cameras are also banned and even if not in use, drivers can face a hefty fine of €1,500 (£1,209).