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In 2018 we published a couple of articles about driving rules and driving licenses in France. Of course nothing stays the same so we wanted to keep you up to date with changes for drivers and those with cars in France as we enter a new year.

Speed limit

Back in July 2018 and amid much controversy the national speed limit was reduced from 90km/h to 80km/h on roads without a central reservation. The statistics have not shown a decrease in traffic accidents and there have been hopeful rumors the 90km/h speed limit will be restored, but please note that the French government has not announced any plans to do so – even if the signposts still say 90!

New ‘radars tourelles’ cameras

In a continued effort to reduce speeding and road deaths, over 6000 ‘turret’ cameras will be installed in 2019. These new superior cameras can detect all manner of driving offences, including those inside your car, so be aware of just some of the things that could cost you a fine or put your license at risk.

Amendes et infractions à l’intérieur du véhicule – Copyright PermisAPoints.fr

The link below gives a list of all of the penalties and license infringements for drivers and vehicle owners.

Greener thinking

France is considered a world leader when it comes to green energy and a “sustainable transport package” worth up to €200 has been introduced to encourage employers to cover the carpooling costs for their staff.

Also from 1 January the government is offering grants of up to 5000€ to exchange older polluting vehicles for newer greener ones. If you travel more than 60km per day for work on a low household income this is a significant offer.

However, if you’re unable to upgrade your old polluting car the financial penalties are going to go up. From July 1st drivers of diesel vehicles will be forced to undergo much stricter tests, and owners of any car that emit 117 grams of CO2 per km will have to pay an extra €50 a year.

The Gilets Jaunes

You will have found it hard to ignore the “yellow jacket” protests that started in France in November. To try and calm the unrest, French president Emmanuel Macron has backed down on the planned increase in petrol and diesel taxes. He hasn’t totally succeeded in calming the marches yet: at the time of writing the “yellow vest” protests are ongoing, although slightly less disruptive.

Autoroute péage

Price rises around 1.8-1.9% were planned for motorway tolls from February 2019, as part of pre-existing contracts. Due to the Gilets Jaunes, the Minister of Transport asked the motoroway management companies to adjust the prices. A new scheme has been agreed, entitling motorists who make ten or more return trips on the same road to benefit from a discount of 30%.

Breaking down

If your vehicle breaks down on a motorway it will cost you more. The cost of calling out a breakdown recovery service will be at least €125. It will cost more if the repair needs more than 30 minutes or if the car has to be towed to a garage more than 5km away. It will cost a further 50% more if the breakdown occurs between 18h00 and 08:00, or on a weekend or public holiday.

And finally …

Car insurance

A nominal increase in policy premiums is expected to be between 1%-2%. More seriously, and unbelievable as it may seem, there are thousands of uninsured motorists in France, so please check and double-check that your license and insurance policy are in order. We’ll help you with the smallprint if you’re concerned.

Motorists driving without a valid policy risk fines of up to €3,750 (plus costs), the suspension or cancellation of a license, and confiscation of the vehicle.

Further guidance

If you need to

  • exchange your driving license for a French license
  • get competitive quotes for car insurance
  • import or register a vehicle
  • get your vehicle tested
  • take a driving test

Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!

Dennelle Taylor Nizoux

Dennelle is the President of Renestance and a bilingual American who’s lived in France since 2000. She loves so many things about France, its language, culture, geography, quality of life... that she started a business to help others realize their dreams of living in this incredible place.

All articles by: Dennelle Taylor Nizoux

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