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How life will change in France as of July 1st

Ben McPartland · 1 Jul 2015, 12:08

Published: 01 Jul 2015 12:08 GMT+02:00

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As always on July 1st a raft of reforms and new laws will come into force.

So you don’t get caught out, here’s a few to be aware of.

Road safety rules:

Many of the most important changes are in the area of road safety.

For a start headphones and other wireless earpieces are now forbidden when driving.

The measure also applies to scooters and cyclists, who will  no longer be allowed to stick their phones under their helmets as many are prone to do.

Basically if you want to talk on the phone while driving, you’ll have to use the car speakers via Bluetooth or put the phone on loud speaker. Anyone who doesn’t respect the new rules faces a €135 fine.

The new laws also include a ban on eating sandwiches at the wheel, putting on make-up or listening to loud music, which could result in a €75 fine. It's all designed to allow drivers in France to improve their concentration levels, which can't be a bad thing.

No drink driving for new drivers

France continues to crack down on drink-driving and especially among youngsters. A new measure brought in on July 1st sees the alcohol limit for young drivers cut to 0.2g/l. Basically meaning they can’t have a drink at all before getting behind the wheel.

Anyone who does and gets caught will get six points on their license. The measure concerns those who have been driving for less than three years.

Parking charges

The cost of parking your car will no longer be charged on an hourly basis. Parking machines will now be set so that tariffs go up every quarter of an hour. Don’t expect parking to get any cheaper however as many providers have simply bumped up their rates.

Fines go up for dodgy parking

Many people complain about French drivers parking anywhere and the government is trying to crack down. Those caught leaving their cars on pavements or in cycle lanes or pedestrian crossings now face a €135 fine, that’s an increase of €100.

Polluting coaches and trucks banned from Paris

As part of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s war on pollution, coaches and trucks registered before 2001 are now banned from entering Paris.

No smoking with kids in car

It is now against the law to smoke in a car where a child younger than 12 years of age is present. If you do, you face a €68 fine. Smoking in outdoor play areas for children is also now banned.

Family allowances cut for the most well off

Those couples with two children who earn more than €6,000 a month net, will see their family allowances (Allocations familiales) cut in two, to around €65 from €129. Those who earn €8,000 a month net will see the allowance cut by three quarters. Around 485,000 families will be affected, though they won’t notice the cut till their payment arrives in August.

Gas prices to be cut by 1.3 percent

Another cut in gas prices is good news for customers of provider Engie.

Story continues below…

Foods to carry allergy warnings

From now on pre-packaged foods must carry warnings for 14 different substances that could provoke a reaction for consumers who are either allergic or intolerant. Restaurants will also have to warn clients of the products either on the menus or clearly within the premises.

Asbestos limits lowered

Legal limits for the amount of asbestos that construction workers are exposed to in old buildings have been cut tenfold in a bid to reduce on the number of diseases it causes each year in France – estimated to be around 5,000.

Self-testing kits for Aids

From now on people will be able to carry out a test for the Aids virus without having to go to a clinic, with kits available in pharmacies.

Prices for pills

The labels on medication and pills will be altered so that the prices are made much clearer as well as how the cost of each medication is reimbursed, either by the state or the “mutuelle”.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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