New driving regulations come into force in France

18 February 2015

Key points about this news item New driving regulations come into force in France

France tightens driving regulations on mobile hands free kits


New driving regulations in France

A new raft of road safety measures have come into force across France, covering drink driving, use of mobile phones while driving and parking near pedestrian crossings.


The changes have been prompted by an increase of 3.7% in road deaths in 2014, the first increase in twelve years as announced by French Minister of the interior Bernard Cazeneuve.  In 2014, there 3388 fatalities on French roads, up from 3267 in 2013 with pedestrians and cyclists being the most affected.


Twenty six new measures have been announced in an effort to force drivers to concentrate more on the road and make the roads safer, including;

  • Lowering of drink drive limit for 18 to 24 year olds – the minister confirmed that an experimental lowering of the drink drive limit for young drivers will be put in force.  The limit is reduced to 0.2 g / l of blood for this age group, which is equivalent to a small glass of wine or a small beer.  This limit is already in force in a number of European countries, including Ireland and the Netherlands.  Alcohol is linked to 26% of fatal driving accidents in this age group and accounts for around 200 deaths every year.
  • Use of mobile phones while driving – currently it is illegal to use hand held mobile phones while driving, but hands free kits are allowed.  The wording of the announcement seems to indicate that hands free kits are now illegal also, but it is not 100% clear.  The rule may only apply to earphones / earpieces used with mobiles and not the built in systems that use the phone and a speaker to act as a speakerphone.
  • Parking within five metres of a pedestrian crossing is now illegal and has been implemented to “improve visibility between pedestrians and drivers”, said Bernard Cazeneuve.
  • The accompanied driving age is going to lowered to fifteen as opposed to the current age of sixteen, plus the driving test can now be taken at the age of seventeen instead of eighteen.


The number of road fatalities in France has been steadily dropping for the past twelve years and the French government has a commitment to bring the number of deaths under 2000 by the year 2020. 


All the rules and regulations in the world will not cure the problem without enforcement and this is the area that the government should be focussing on.  Headline grabbing initiatives may show that they are trying to do something, but the current mobile phone law is routinely ignored, so making it stricter is not going to help unless the Police begin to catch people and prosecute them.


Have a comment on the new or current rules?  We would love to hear from you.




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