Motorists Beware!

For years, motorists driving their own car in another country could escape fines/tickets, but not any more!

French police say they know many foreign drivers break the speed limit, safe in the knowledge that they can avoid a fine, and in fact, EU figures show that foreign drivers account for 15% of speeding offences in the 28-nation bloc, but make up 5% of road traffic. However, this loophole is due to be closed soon with new EU legislation, and the deadline for implementation across the EU is 7th November.

So what does this mean? The details of the offending driver can be given to the relevant member state and the guilty party can be tracked down. So if a German speed camera catches a French driver breaking the speed limit, that driver will still have to pay a fine in France - provided the driver is the owner of the vehicle.

British, Irish and Danish motorists may have laughed at this, because the UK, Ireland and Denmark have opted out, but this is not what it seems. If you are caught in the act by the police, they have the power to force you to pay an on-the-spot fine.

According to Lt Benjamin Dupain who runs the special division of the Gendarmerie set up to tackle this: "They have to pay on the spot. If they don't have any money on them and they are on their own, they will be driven to the nearest cashpoint machine. If they really have no money at all, then an on-duty judge will be called to decide what to do. But that can mean waiting around for up to three days and the car will not be allowed to move," he says.

These fines are not insignificant, so driver beware!

  • Maximum speed on motorway is 130km/h (80 mph)

  • On-the-spot fine of 90 euros if driver goes up to 40km/h over limit

  • If speed breaks limit by more than 40km/h, police can seize car and demand 750 Euro fine

  • Driver must have a reflective jacket and warning triangle in car - fine can be 90 Euros if either is missing

  • In-car radar detectors are illegal

With my old banger the only way I could get done is if they have a camera half way down a gorge that I drive off …

Brake the law! Good one Michael :)

Melissa, that's in Spain. France for some reason only requires one for the driver as far as i have found out.

Michael, are you an ex journalist? UK authourities have been the laughing stock of France for years, really articles proof? I think France has more than enough of it's own stupid red tape to deal with to have time to look around at others. Hidden cameras each to their own, hidden signs to let you know what speed you should be doing is another matter and also the inaccuracies. As Chris said dash cameras almost a necessity these days. On one occasion post being flashed, I wasn't speeding, I went back and took a picture of the sign that said 90KPH.

I believe Hiviz reflective jackets are required for driver and all passengers. SATNAVs with speed trap detectors should also have that application turned off.

One thing that terrifies me about driving in France is the number of English who do not understand the significance of the signs 1) a diagonal cross, 2) a yellow diamong with a black diagonal line through it.

I was "flashed" while stationery at a traffic light in Pau the other day! (A "red light" camera.) I'm waiting with interest to see if a ticket arrives.

Dash camera, could be your friend - again...

...proves your location, date, time, and your speed - also captures the unexpected and occasionally erroneous "flashing" of speed cameras at you, and the position and behaviour of other traffic on the road, in your vicinity.

It could be the only evidence you have.

Also James, databases of speed camera positions are also illegal in France and I believe Germany too.

Since I switched off my camera database I have been flashed a number of times proving that the camera database did work at reducing my speed thus making the roads slightly safer but not raising as much money for the hard up government of France.

I have also been flashed a couple of times whilst being BELOW the speed shown on the sign prior to the camera and in one case the volkswagon golf that over took me wasn't flashed but I was. How would one complain about that injustice in France.

I am usually driving my old van, not particularly fast and I am not trying to set a new speed record for the journey but I have seen a fair number of 110kph areas reduce to 90kph and 70 to 50, 50 to 30 and they go up and down so frequently it is harder to keep track on a long 500km journey so my database is back it keeps me below the limits and my money in my pocket and is also safer for others.