France is a beautiful country with a lot to offer tourists and thanks to great transport links such as the Channel Tunnel and regular ferries, it is easier than ever to take your car with you to France or just fly and hire a car when you arrive in France. It is also one of the best ways to see the picturesque villages, stunning mountains and coastal resorts in the country.
However driving in France is not the same as driving in the UK and there are different driving laws too. 2012 has seen a number of changes to existing driving laws and new laws being introduced so make sure you read up on what is required before you embark on your touring holiday. Here are just a few law changes for 2012:
French Breathalyser Law
From 1st July 2012, it was made obligatory for all vehicles on the road in France to carry a breathalyser or alcohol-level test with the aim of making France’s roads safer than ever before. Single use breathalysers can be bought from a wide range of places in France including garages, petrol stations, chemists and supermarkets. They are priced at around 1 Euro each. However it’s worth noting that if you use your single use breathalyser and then get pulled over, you will still receive a fine for not having an un-used test in the car so it’s worth stocking up. Multi-use breathalysers are also available to buy and cost around 50 Euros. The fine for getting caught without an alcohol-level test in the car is 11 Euros and takes effect from November 2012.
Using Your Mobile Phone Whilst Driving
The French authorities have got stricter on the use of mobile phones whilst driving. From January 2012, they amended the enforcement laws so any driver caught using their mobile phone whilst driving would be liable to an on-the-spot fine of 130 Euros. If the driver also had a French driving license, 3 penalty points would also be issued.
Radar Warning Devices
In November last year, the French authorities banned the use of radar warning devices including speed camera detectors. Now any driver caught to be using one will be liable for a 1500 Euro fine. The law surrounding satellite navigation systems is in contention as technically they should be included in the ban. To make sure you don’t receive a fine for using your GPS, it is recommended that you update it with the latest maps of France which will not include speed camera warnings to comply with the new law.
Speed Camera Warnings
Prior to 2012, in France you would see a large eye-catching sign which alerted you to up-coming speed cameras. Over the last few months, these have been phased out. Although in most cases, they have been replaced with flashing luminous panels displaying your actual speed, in some instances signs have not been replaced so it’s best to be aware of your speed and the restrictions on the road at all times.
All these measures have been designed to make driving on the roads of France safer, for both you and others so as long as you stick to the latest laws, you’ll still be able to enjoy your tour of France.