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Over 50s drivers set to be hit with French fines

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The French government is set to make €20m out of over 50s driving abroad this year, as some drivers will still fail to take steps in line with European driving regulations.

Research by insurers Saga revealed that 2.3m over 50s are planning to drive their car abroad this year. Whilst most will by now be aware of the need to take warning triangles and reflective jackets with them to drive on the continent, some 1.8m may still fall foul of the latest French driving regulations.

Only 8% of over 50s planning on driving in France this year plan to take a breathalyser with them, which means the vast majority could find themselves in trouble with the French authorities.

Roger Ramsden, chief executive at Saga Services, said: “There needs to be a huge drive to make people aware of this new law, whilst 98% of us now know that we ought to pack a warning triangle when we drive in France, only 8% plan to take a breathalyser. For many British motorists the French welcome this summer may be less ooh la la and more oh my god as they present you with an €11 fine.”

From the 1st of July, drivers in France will be required to have an unused breathalyser that conforms to French standards, with them in the car. Breathalyser kits cost around £2 each, but the fine for not having one will set people back €11, this could leave the over 50s facing up to €20m in French fines this year.

The French requirement is to carry one breathalyser at all times, however Saga is advising people to take two, in case of emergency situations.

Saga also advises that all motorists planning to drive on the continent should check the rules of the road for each country they plan to drive through. A warning triangle, reflective jacket and a first aid kit are required in most EU countries, but rules on speed limits, safe alcohol limits and many other driving laws vary from country to country.

These new measures are being taken out by the French authorities in a bid to cut down on drink driving, however research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), show that 82% of people set to head to the continent think that the new regulations will have no effect on reducing drink driving.

Only 13% said that the new regulations will reduce people driving over the limit, and 70% said that drivers will only carry them to comply with the law, and will not change their behaviour.

Despite a general scepticism about the impact these new regulations will have, according to the IAM, compliance is set to be high. IAM advises that the easiest way to tell if the breathalyser complies with the French legislation is to make sure it has the blue circular NF logo, the French equivalent of the BSI kite mark in the UK.


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