SHARE
COPY LINK

DRIVING

France to cut speed limit on roads to 80km/h in July despite opposition

The government confirmed that an 80km/h speed limit will be introduced on countryside roads in France from July 1st as part of its of new measures to make the country's roads safer despite opposition to the move.

France to cut speed limit on roads to 80km/h in July despite opposition
Photo: AFP
The reform, which will see the speed limit reduced from 90km/h to 80km/h on all two-lane highways or specifically “on all secondary roads without a central reservation”, will be implemented from July 1st 2018 until July 1st 2020 as a two-year trial.
 
At the end of that period further changes may be made, depending on the “effectiveness” of the measure in terms of saving lives and cutting down on injuries, said government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux on Wednesday. 
 
The government is determined to lower the speed limit despite continuing opposition which has been ramping up since it was first announced as a possibility in January. 
 
In an open letter to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, which was made public on Friday, the heads of 28 departments in France asked the government to drop the move. 
 
They pushed instead for roads to be looked at on case-by-case basis, paying particular attention to the roads where more accidents happen. 
 
READ ALSO: 

How France aims to make its roads safer for drivers and pedestriansPhoto: AFP

It isn't only the authorities who are against the new regulation. In fact, thousands of bikers recently blocked roads in protest against the move in rural areas across France.
 
And in January, the new measure prompted outrage from driving associations including 40 million motorists, with the group citing an experiment where an increase in the speed limit worked to decrease road mortality. 
 
According to a YouGov poll carried out on behalf of 20 Minutes the association was backed up by the majority of the French population, with 67 percent of people believing that lowering the speed limit to 80 km/h would not be effective.
 
But at the time French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe made it clear he was prepared for the opposition. 
 
“I know that if we announce this measure I will be criticized, but I know that it will save lives, and I want to save lives,” he said.
 
Road mortality in France
 
France has a sorry record for the number of fatal accidents that occur on its roads, with the death toll in 2016 reaching 3,469.
 
The possible law change comes at a time when road mortality has been on the rise since 2014 — the longest period of sustained increase since 1972.
 
And it is on the two-way roads outside urban areas, mostly with speed limits of 90 km/h where 55 percent of fatal accidents took place in 2016.
 
 
Bikers protest against the change to the speed limit. Photo: AFP
 
The “excessive or unsuitable” speed was involved in a third (32 percent) of the fatal accidents, according to a report by France Info.
 
 
The former Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said previously that one of the primary reasons for the higher toll was increase in road traffic but also drivers taking risks. 
 
“The rise also reflects an increase in risky behaviour that can lead to serious accident fatalities,” he said. 
 
The former minister also said French drivers were “too relaxed” when it came to following the road rules, and that many motorists continued to drive “at excessive speed”.
 
A study in April 2015 from BVA found that 75 percent of French people acknowledged that they don't always stick to the speed limit. 

For members

LIVING IN FRANCE

Reader question: Can I buy or sell a car in France if I have a foreign driving licence?

You can drive in France for a certain amount of time with some foreign driving licences. But can you buy or sell a car with one and what other documents do you need?

Reader question: Can I buy or sell a car in France if I have a foreign driving licence?

Let’s start with the good news: a driving licence is not among the list of official documents needed to buy or sell a car in France – just to drive one.

But it’s likely that are asked to provide one when you buy a car.

In that case does what happens if you have a foreign rather than French licence?

We know by reading certain Facebook posts that this question often arises and some people have reported that they were wrongly asked for their French driving licence when buying a car and told that a UK licence, for example, wasn’t acceptable. 

Not having a French driver’s licence should not stop you from being able to buy a car in France.

Kim Cranstoun who runs the Facebook group ‘Applying for a French Driving Licence’ told The Local: “It’s a dealer issue, they have it fixed in their mind that you have to have a French licence mainly because they don’t understand the new agreement and the last thing they read was a UK licence was only valid until the end of 2021.

“As long as you have a valid UK licence you can purchase a car in France. Anyone going into a dealer with a valid UK licence should carry a copy of the agreement,” she said.

Interestingly a driving licence is not on the list of official documents you need to buy a car (see below) but dealer’s will often ask for it if they take charge of registering the car.

What does the seller need?

The seller is responsible for providing the car registration document, called the certificat d’immatriculation and known informally as the Carte Grise.

You must sign a certificat de cession (transfer certificate) along with the buyer, and then declare the sale on the ANTS website within 15 days. 

You should then receive a code de cession (transfer code) which you must also send to the buyer so they can register the vehicle in their name.

If the vehicle is second-hand and more than four-years old, the seller should also provide a recent roadworthiness certificate, proving that the vehicle has passed a contrôle technique (similar to an MoT in the UK), in the past six months.

What does the buyer need?

When you buy a car, you must sign a certificat de cession (transfer certificate) along with the previous owner, who has to declare the sale on the ANTS website within 15 days. 

The seller should then receive a code de cession (transfer code) which they must send you because you will need this to register the vehicle in your name. There is a fee, which usually falls to the buyer to pay for transferring a vehicle registration – which varies depending on the region, type of car, and its CO2 emissions. 

The previous certificat d’immatriculation (registration certificate – aka carte grise) needs to be struck through, and completed with the date of the sale and the seller’s signature.

You will then need to register the car in your name, which can be done online. You have one month to do this, otherwise you risk a fine of up to €750. 

If you are purchasing the car through a dealer, this transfer of registration will be done at the time of the purchase. Be aware, a dealer may ask for your driving licence as part of the process, but – as long as you hold a valid licence, whether it is French or not, you will still be able to go through with your purchase.

In fact, you can ask any certified garage to apply for the carte grise on your behalf, which could save on time and hassle, even if you didn’t buy the car from them.

When applying for a carte grise you will need to submit proof that the vehicle has undergone a contrôle technique (vehicle safety check) within the previous six months if the car is at least four years old.

To register the vehicle, you need the following official documents:

  • Identification (passport or identity card)

  • Proof of residence (typically a utility bill or rental receipt, less than six months old).

  • A copy of the Certificat d’immatriculation/Carte Grise with the appropriate section filled in.

  • The contrôle technique (CT) certificate, if required.

Buying a car with a loan

If you have the funds to buy the vehicle outright, you’ll have no problems – simply hand over the cheque at the appropriate time. It may be harder, however, to access financing for your vehicle if you’re not permanently resident in France.

Driving your new vehicle

If you plan to drive your car away that day, you will also be asked for a copy of a valid insurance certificate for the vehicle – in France, the vehicle is insured rather than the driver. 

Most car insurance companies will provide a provisional certificate to allow you to drive your new purchase. You will then need to finalise details and provide them with a copy of the Carte Grise when it arrives.

Driving licence

If you live permanently in France, sooner or later you may need to swap your driving licence for a French one – but where you learned to drive in the first place could dictate whether you have to take a French driving test. We cover that in depth here – including what’s changed for Britons in France after Brexit.

You can buy some vehicles – known as voitures sans permis – and drive them on some French roads without having a driving licence. Anyone born after 1988 must, however, hold a Brevet de sécurité routière, which has a 15-year limit, and the vehicles are speed limited and can only travel on certain routes.

SHOW COMMENTS