New driving regulations in France can now impact upon British visitors as the previous waiving of offences by foreign drivers has been rethought. Previously it would be unheard of for a speeding GB car to be chased down for a speeding ticket (or any other traffic violation) once they have returned home but now that has all changed. New “Cross Border Enforcement” rules mean they will chase you for the offence.
With the holiday season approaching and many preparing for a break across the Channel, it’s time to familiarise yourself with what the new rules mean.
France is acting as it suffers disproportionately from driving offences committed by visitors. Research has shown an average of close to 15% of offences across the EU are committed by people from abroad but in France it’s a massive 25% rising to almost 50% at peak holiday times. It’s not a surprise that given this high rate of offence that the French government has chosen to take action.
Anyone caught breaking speed limits will now face a fine and if the speed is excessive enough, prosecution. The fines are graded in relation to by how far the speed limit has been breached and it tops out at a wallet pounding £640, so is not to be taken lightly or dismissed as a token gesture.
It is worth noting that the highest concentration of traffic cameras in France is around the port of Calais, so British drivers will be particularly at risk of receiving an unwelcome charge in the post if they transgress the new regulations given the volume of travellers that head out that way.
It is natural after a long drive on the British side of the journey and a secondary stage via ferry or train to want to reach your destination and get on with your holiday quickly but it’s clearly wiser to accept the time it’s going to take. Look to be a responsible road user and treat the final leg as just something that needs to be done rather than a mad sprint so you can have a Kronenbourg or a glass of claret with your friends. That could end up being a pretty costly drink, not to mention the safety aspect, especially as many of us are beginning to tire towards the end of a journey.
As mentioned, whilst speeding is the main focus, all other usual traffic offences are covered too. So please, take it steady, put your mobile away, watch the lights and don’t save 2 minutes by nipping down a bus lane. The cost just isn’t worth it, nor is the potential endangerment to other road users or your own passengers.
Finally, always do your research when travelling abroad. France has several requirements that you need to be aware of and you should find out exactly what you need to carry with you and it’s sensible to arrange European Breakdown Cover for your own peace of mind and safety.
There’s no need to be anxious about driving in France, the roads are well maintained, excellently signposted and roadside facilities are numerous but do be wary of the new rules and respect them. Otherwise your trip may end up costing a good deal more than you bargained for.