In fact, drivers can be punished for using a mobile any time the vehicle isn't parked in a designated parking area, including a car park or private driveway.
As a result, they face a fine of up to €135 and get three points on their driving license for three years which is the same punishment already handed out to people caught using their phones at the wheel in France.
The new rule only applies to the use of a smartphone the driver is holding in their hand and not to cars fitted with hands-free sets.
The decision came after a driver appealed a fine he received in 2017 which punished him for using a phone while he was parked at a roundabout with his hazard lights on.
At the time Jehanne Collard, a lawyer for victims of road accidents in France and an author of a book of the subject said habits needed to change.
“There is a real deterioration in terms of the behavior on the road. Fatal accidents often involving cyclists, pedestrians and scooter drivers are related to excessive speeds and risk-taking, such as blind overtaking,” she told Le Figaro.
Motorists may be able to look forward to some help from the supermarket chain E.Leclerc, which also owns several petrol stations across France, after the head of the chain E.Leclerc, Michel-Edouard Leclerc, told BFM Politique on December 18th that the company would “make a gesture” to help motorists in France with rising fuel prices, but he did not provide any further details.
But the blanket discount will be replaced by targeted assistance for households on lower incomes who rely on their vehicles for work, with about 10 million workers expected to receive a one-off payment of €100.
To apply for the aid, you will need to register your details on the tax website.
The French government has unveiled a plan to encourage carpooling on Tuesday, offering drivers who register on carpooling platforms a benefit of €100.
Drivers will be able to register starting on January 1st, and the payment of €100 will be done in instalments – with a lump sum of “at least” €25 upon registration and then the remaining amount distributed over the course of 10 carpool journeys.
“Carpooling is a very effective lever for reducing our country’s fuel consumption in a sustainable way. It is good for the climate and good for the purchasing power of the French,” French environment minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher told Huffpost.
From February, motorway toll fees will rise by an average of 4.75 percent, after rising 2 percent in 2022.
The Transport Ministry pointed out that the 4.75 percent toll increase – announced in October – is “markedly lower” than France’s inflation rate of 6.33 percent.
On some networks, electric vehicles will benefit from a five percent discount, while regular users – who make a minimum of 10 return journeys a month on the same route – may be eligible for a discount of 40 percent, up from the current 30 percent. Check with the motorway operator for details.
You can find out tariffs for autoroutes on the website of France’s official autoroute body AFSA– where you can also calculate the cost of your journey – including fuel.
No one wants to break down on the motorway, but if you do, you probably want to know how much getting your vehicle fixed will cost. The annual government-set charges are clear.
If your vehicle can be repaired at the side of the motorway in 30 minutes or less, you will be charged a government-set fee. A decree published in September 2022 indicated that the fee was to rise €131.94 in 2021, to €138.01, plus parts.
French president Emmanuel Macron announced in October an increase in the financial aid available for anyone who trades in a combustion engine car for an electric one from January 2023.
In a partial reversal on previous plans, under which the ecological bonus for trading in an older car for an electric model was set to fall, Macron said: “Because we want to make the electric car accessible to everyone, we are going to increase the ecological bonus from €6,000 to €7,000 for half of [France’s] households.”
Since October 1st, electric vehicles parked in front of a public charging station must be connected and charging – drivers cannot simply use them as an extra parking space. Anyone who ignores the rule risks a fine of €58.
Crit’Air sticker extension and more fines for polluting vehicles
France’s environment minister announced in October a major extension of the city low-emission zones controlled by Crit’Air stickers, plus an increase in fines up to a maximum of €750.
Between 2023 and 2025, 43 more French cities will create low-emission zones, on top of the 11 that already have them.
The Crit’Air system requires all motorists – including the drivers of foreign-registered vehicles – going to any of the low-emission zones to get a sticker for their vehicle. The sticker assigns the vehicle a number from 0 (all electric vehicles) to 5 (the most polluting).
Some low emission zones will begin gradually banning more polluting cars. Paris, for instance, intends to ban Crit’Air 3 vehicles in July 2023, a move held back from July 2022.
France introduced a law, the Loi Montage II (mountain law II), in 2020 making winter tyres, chains or socks compulsory in certain areas, which will finally come into effect in 2023.
The law makes either snow tyres, all-weather tyres or chains compulsory in 48 of France’s 96 mainland départements – generally those areas which are mountainous, with local authorities in those départements responsible for deciding where such rules will be applied.
Drivers in France may not have to worry about the little green stickers that they attach to their windscreen (windshield) soon, after French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced plans to scrap them in favour of a digitalised system set to start in 2023.
The goal, according to the finance minister, is to simplify the process for drivers and reduce costs.
French car insurers, like France Assureurs, have been pushing for the piece of paper to be scrapped for some time.
After some back and forth, the French council of the state decided in October that motorcycles (two-wheeled vehicles) would also need to comply with “roadworthiness” testing starting January 1st, 2023. This is part of a decree passed by the French government in August 2021, and it specifically concerns two-wheeled vehicles registered to dates prior to 2016. The council of the state specified that the vehicles concerned are “motor vehicles with two, three or four wheels with a cylinder capacity of more than 125 cm3.” As of December 2022, the details regarding how this plan will be implemented were not yet available, so it is possible enforcement measures will be staggered, according to reporting by Auto-Moto.
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