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4-year-old racks up €23,000 motoring fines

Matthew Warren · 18 May 2012, 12:14

Published: 18 May 2012 12:14 GMT+02:00

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A couple in the southern town of Cannes have been able to escape a string of parking fines by registering a car in the name of their four-year-old son.

Local newspaper Nice Matin reported that a quirk in French law allows a minor to be named as the legal owner of a car.

The law, dating back to 1984, was designed to allow 16 and 17 year old learner drivers to be able to have a car.

Instead, the canny couple took advantage of the rules to put their car in the name of their son.

All that's needed to do so is proof of address and an identity card. No driving licence is required.

Since registering the car in his name a total of 70 different driving offences have been notched up.

These include speeding, parking violations and failure to notify a change of address.

As the four-year-old is the named person on the 'carte grise', the document which identify the owner of the car, he is also assumed to be the driver.

A total of €23,000 ($29,000) in fines have been built up over four years.

France also has a system of points which can be built up for flouting driving rules. In this case, as the child has no driving licence, it's not possible to punish him with points.

The case was brought before a court in Antibes this week but no member of the family turned up.

As a result, all the charges were dropped.

"It's clearly absurd but that's how the law has been written," said the judge, reported Nice Matin. 

"Given the absence of the parents, the only thing I can do is drop the charges. It's not enough to assume that they have tried to evade the law. It has to be proved that they were the ones driving."


Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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