Living in the Languedoc: Driving: The Law in France
You should take particular care when driving in France
as driving regulations and customs are different from those
in the United Kingdom. You should consult the R A C or A
A for advice on special requirements for driving in France.
Drivers in France must be of the age required for the category
of licence in question under French law. The minimum age
for driving a car in France is 18 years old. 17 year-old
British drivers with valid British licences are not permitted
to drive a car in France. Anyone who contravenes this law
can face a fine of up to 1,500 Euros and the impounding
of the vehicle.
You must be able to give advance warning of a hazard on the road.
Hazard warning lights are not always sufficient, so you must carry a warning triangle.
You must be able to replace any exterior light - which means carrying a full set of spare bulbs.
You need a minimum Tyre tread depth of 1.6mm over the central three-quarters of the tread and around the whole circumference.
The AA recommends a minimum of 2mm.
Beware that tyres wear out quickly when they get down to 3mm.
The "Good Samaritan" Law requires everyone to stop and provide assistance if
they witness an accident. It is recommended that you carry
a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, but neither of these
is a legal requirement at the time of writing.
Check with the AA or RAC for the latest rules.
The French Government has recently introduced severe new
penalties for road traffic infringements. These include
a sentence of up to ten years' imprisonment and a fine of
150,000 Euros for causing death whilst over the alcohol
limit; a sentence of up to seven years and a fine of 100,000
Euros for causing death by dangerous or negligent driving;
a sentence of up to two years, a fine of 30,000 Euros and
seizure of the vehicle and device for using any radar detecting
device, this can even apply to vehicles with such devices
installed but switched off. The French police are also applying
speeding restrictions strictly; and drivers exceeding speed
limits face heavy on-the-spot fines. Drivers who break French
driving laws can also have their British driving licences
confiscated by French Police; and the driver concerned will
not be allowed to continue to drive the vehicle. This means
that, if the driver is alone or travelling with a non-driver,
the vehicle can be impounded until another driver with a
current driving licence is available to drive it away.
Back to: French Road Signs.
Next page: French Driving Conventions