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Your Guide to Trouble Free Driving Abroad
If you are one of the two million British motorists planning on taking your car to Europe this year then there’s been some changes to the law that you need to know about.
In France, drivers already face a fine if they’re stopped by police and aren’t carrying a fluorescent jacket or a red warning triangle in their car.
But in 2012, the French government also made it a legal requirement to carry an authorized BREATHALYSER in your car. So what other steps do you need to take to ensure you drive not only on the right side of the road, but the right side of the law as well?
We spoke to the AA who have plenty of advice on how to avoid getting into trouble whilst driving abroad.
On 1 March 2012 the French government confirmed that from 1 July 2012 drivers of all motor vehicles and motorcycles (excluding mopeds) must carry a breathalyser.
The regulation will be enforced from 1 March 2013 and anyone stopped after that date who fails to produce a breathalyser when requested will receive an on the spot fine of €11.
The official announcement states that one unused, certified breathalyser must be produced showing the French certification mark NF. Carrying two single-use breathalysers will ensure that if one is used or damaged, you will still have a spare to produce.
The breathalyser produced has to be in date - single-use breathalysers normally have a validity of twelve months.
Satnav and speed camera alerts
Since 3 January 2012 French laws have prohibited drivers from carrying any device capable of detecting speed cameras. This includes products or devices able to warn or inform of the location of speed cameras e.g. satnav or gps systems capable of showing speed camera sites as Points of Interest.
The law is primarily aimed at speed camera detectors and sat-navs. It is unlikely that the French police will turn their attention to atlases but there is no guarantee this would be the case.
As well as the ban on warning devices, the French government is installing around 400 new, unsigned, fixed speed cameras as well as taking down signs indicating the location of existing camera sites.
If you have a satnav capable of displaying French camera locations in France then you must at least disable camera alerts. Contact the manufacturer for advice too as a software or database update is likely to be available that will remove camera data for France from the device.
If you have a satnav system built into your car then contact the vehicle manufacturer in the first instance.
Reflective clothing for motorcyclists
From 1 January 2013 all drivers and passengers of a motorcycle over 125cc or a motor tricycle over 15 KW/h must wear reflective clothing when riding their vehicles and in the event of an emergency stop/breakdown.
Clothing must have a minimum reflective surface of 150cm2 (approx 23in2) in total, either in one piece or in several pieces, and must be worn between the neck and waist.
Remember- You may be asked to produce your documents at any time. Make sure that they are in order and readily available to avoid the risk of a police fine or even having your car taken away.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all documentation needed to comply with the requirements of immigration, customs, health and other relevant regulations.
If you are travelling in a vehicle other than a motor car or motorcycle or you are taking a boat, additional documentation may be required.
The AA has plenty more advice about driving abroad on their website- www.theaa.com
- Gloria Hunniford
- Angela Rippon
- Julia Somerville
- Executive Producer
- Rob Unsworth
- Series Producer
- Matthew Laza