France proposes getting rid of penalties for 'minor' speeding offences

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France proposes getting rid of penalties for 'minor' speeding offences
A car passes by a speed radar (GPS) in 2012 on a road in northern France (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP)

The French government is considering changing speeding laws so that drivers will not lose points on their licence if they are caught going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.


France's Interior Ministry is considering changing its current rules for minor speeding violations - proposing getting rid of the penalty for drivers who only violate the rule by going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

The Ministry has not laid out a timeline for when this could come into effect, but they said they are currently in the preliminary stages of studying how the change could be carried out.


"The fine of course remains," said the Interior Ministry to French daily Le Parisien.

That is to say you can still be fined for going five kilometres over the speed limit, but there might not be any more lost points for driving a couple kilometres over the posted limit. 

READ ALSO These are the offences that can cost you points on your driving licence

Of the 13 million speeding tickets issued each year in France, 58 percent are for speeding violations of less than 5 km per hour over the limit, with many coming from automated radar machines.

How does the current rule work?

The rule itself is already a bit flexible, depending on where the speeding violation occurs.

If the violation happens in an urban area or low-speed zone (under 50 km per hour limit), then it is considered a 4th class offence, which involves a fixed fine of €135. Drivers can also lose a point on their licences as a penalty for this offence. 

Whereas, on highways and high-speed roads, the consequences of speeding by 5 km per hour are less severe. The offence is only considered 3rd class, which means the fixed fine is €68. There is still the possibility of losing a point on your licence, however. 

How do people feel about this?

Pierre Chasseray, a representative from the organisation "40 Millions d'Automobilistes," thinks the government should do away with all penalties for minor speeding offences, including fines. He told French daily Le Parisien that this is only a "first step."

Meanwhile, others are concerned that the move to get rid of points-deductions could end up encouraging people to speed, as they’ll think there is no longer any consequence.

To avoid being accused of carelessness, France's Interior Ministry is also promising to become "firmer" with regards to people who use other people's licences in order to get out of losing points - say by sending their spouse's or grandmother's instead of their own after being caught speeding. The Interior Ministry plans to digitalise license and registration in an effort to combat this. 

Ultimately, if you are worried about running out of points on your licence, there are still ways to recover them.

You can recover your points after six months of driving without committing any other offences, and there are also awareness training courses that allow you to gain your points back. It should be noted, however, that these trainings typically cost between €150 and €250, and they do not allow you to regain more than four points.


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montymeehan 2023/01/10 18:34
I am appalled by this proposal to use private companies/entities to issue speeding tickets, enforce fines etc. I am a retired English police officer, and, apart from speed cameras, there are two main ways of detecting speeders; first by means of following the offender in/on a police vehicle and recording its speed by means of calibrated speedometer, which has to be checked for accuracy, and second by means of a stationary vehicle, usually a van, with a camera, facing out of a rear window. For detection by following in/on a police vehicle, in my force it was necessary for the driver/rider to be trained to an advanced standard of driving, which in my case, involved a 5-week course, which I believe is essential. (only incident and traffic cars/motorcycles were fitted with the necessary calibrated speedometer). With the stationary vehicle, that probably won't be necessary, though by allowing 'civilian entities' to detect speeding offences, I am concerned that those with a profit motive may be tempted to be somewhat over-zealous and imaginative, which could lead to unjustifiable fines. Whereas a Gendarme will be constrained by a strict discipline code, I cannot see the same being applied to a 'civilian'. I would think it would be an idea for motorists to have dash cams, which also record speed, fitted, but that would only be good, where the exact position of the exact place, the alleged offence is alleged to have occurred and knowledge of the allegation is made before another record is superimposed on the original recording, as happens with the loop system. For my part, particularly on the autoroutes, I set my cruise control to the speed limit, which reduces the likelihood of exceeding the speed limit and in any case, over a long journey, it gives my right foot a rest.

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