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.
The green piece of paper (carte verte in French) that must be visible on vehicles is used to prove that a motorist has vehicle insurance, and it has been a requirement for French vehicles for over 40 years.
Each year, over 50 million of these tiny square documents are printed and sent to French drivers, but starting in 2023 the carte verte could be replaced by a digitalised system.
Le Maire said during a press conference on Tuesday that he is working with Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin “to abolish this little green pieces of paper (vignettes)” in 2023. The goal for 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.
“At the time, it was created to combat a lack of vehicle insurance. But today we have the technical means to simplify the lives of French people and improve the fight against fraud,” Franck Le Vallois, the head of France Assureurs told Le Parisien in May 2022.
The new digital system would allow for drivers’ insurance to be checked using licence plates and by verifying information in the file of insured vehicles (FAV) – which has been accessible to law enforcement since 2019. Insurance companies are required to update the register every 72 hours.
Switching to a computerised verification process would not only save the money spent on printing and mailing the documents, but it would also put an end to falsified or out of date green vignettes.
“The reliability is more than 99 percent,” said Le Vallois. “It is more reliable than a simple visual check that cannot determine whether [the card] is a fake or not.”
Currently, drivers in France can be fined up to €35 for failing to show proof of vehicle insurance.