Planning a holiday or business trip to France? Whether staying in France or driving through it to another part of Europe, understanding the driving requirements is vital. Here’s all you need to know.
Has driving in France changed due to Brexit?
Brexit is set to change driving on the continent in many ways, and the need for an international driving permit is one of the most obvious. A 1968 IDP, which can be acquired through the Post Office for £5.50 will be needed to drive in France.
You will also need a green card to prove the presence of valid insurance while your passport must have at least six months on it too.
What are the speed limits when driving in France?
Since July 2018, the national speed limit for driving on single carriageway highways has been reduced to 50mph (from 56mph). However, the French government allows Mayors of individual territories to put it back up to 56mph. Most UK drivers are advised to err on the side of caution.
What are the rules in relation to eating and drinking?
Eating and drinking (soft drinks) at the wheel is not explicitly prohibited by a law but is covered by the French government’s version of the ‘driving without due care and attention’ rulings. The application of makeup also falls into this category.
What about drink driving?
The drink driving limit for inexperienced drivers (under three years) has been dropped from 0.05% to 0.02%, which is the same as value as coach drivers and bus drivers. People that have driven for longer than three years are still permitted to have up to 0.05% in their system.
It should be noted, however, that all drivers are required to carry a breathalyser or run the risk of facing a fine. Single-use breathalysers can be obtained and kept in the vehicle for 12 months. All breathalysers must be verified by the French certification mark NF.
What’s the deal with devices?
Drivers are allowed to listen to music, but must not use headphones or any other device that is directly attached to the ear as it could mask the sounds from the road. Smartphones, music players, and products integrated into headrests or motorbike helmets fall under this ruling.
What about speed camera detectors?
It is illegal for drivers to use Sat Navs that identify the location of speed cameras. It is an offence that can land a €1,500 fine. You are still allowed to use a Sat Nav system but must disable any camera detecting elements.
What are the low emission zones in France?
Full-time and emergency low emission zones have been introduced in Paris, Lyon, and other major cities. They prohibit access to particularly old and dangerous vehicles while other cars should display the appropriate sticker (there are a total of six) to confirm the vehicle’s emission status.
This is an issue that affects UK drivers as well as French residents. The stickers cost €4.41 and could save you from a €135 fine.