DVLA provides details of 200,000 British drivers in four months

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

DVLA provides details of 200,000 British drivers in four months

New ‘virtual licence’ could lead to French driving ban


British holidaymakers who flout traffic laws in France and think they can get away with it are in for a shock.  The ‘Gendarmes’ will now track you down!


Since February, the DVLA have been receiving requests from French authorities for the details of keepers of UK-registered vehicles that have committed a motoring offence.


Figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request by AlcoSense Breathalysers reveal that, in the four months to the end of May, the DVLA received 212,878 such requests.


Automated fines are then sent to motorists in the post.  A spokesman for the French Interministerial Delegate for Road Safety confirmed that:  “Non-payment of the fine leads to legal proceedings, regardless of nationality. There’s no impunity.”


And there are numerous offences that can be committed in France by the unwary British driver.  In addition to standard breaches such as speeding and drink driving, there are specific items that all motorists are obliged by law to carry in or around their car.


These include a high viz jacket for every passenger, a warning triangle, spare bulbs, headlamp beam deflectors, a GB sticker and a single-use ‘NF approved’ breathalyser.


The drink drive limit is also lower in France, at 0.5mg of alcohol per mL of blood (0.25 milligrams per litre of breath) - compared with 0.8mg (0.35 milligrams per litre of breath) in England and Wales.


Drivers with under three years experience are subject to an even lower 0.2mg limit in France (0.10 milligrams per litre of breath).


“British motorists are required by law to carry an NF approved breathalyser in France, and it can prove vital to self-test the next day to make sure you’re under the lower drink drive limit,” comments Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense Laboratories.


Approved single-use breathalysers can be purchased in the UK from Halfords.  Alternatively, the re-usable AlcoSense Excel can be adjusted to any worldwide limit.  


The French Parliament has also adopted legislation to create a ‘virtual penalty points driving licence’ for foreigners not resident in France who commit traffic offences.


Expected to come into force within months, British drivers will lose points on their ‘licence’ just like a French national.  Losing all 12 points would lead to an automatic driving ban in France.


French police recorded 123,926 drink driving offences in 2017.  Penalties include a jail sentence of up to two years, a driving ban and a fine of up to €4,500.


Other French motoring laws include a ban on the use of headsets or headphones, and carrying a spare pair of glasses if you require them for driving.  

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