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Motoring requirements in France

2334 Views 24 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  twojags
Hello All... not posted in a while.
Anyway, I was talking to someone at work. They commented that they were on their way yo Halford's to collect a couple of breathalysers ????
Apparently these are part of the compulsory kit that is required for French/European motoring.

So lets get this clear...
Two breathalyser kits
complete bulb set for your vehicle
headlight diffusers or Euro adjustable headlamps
first aid kit
warning triangle (one or is it two??)
hi vis vests... readily accessible... one for each occupant
full insurance papers (and mot and road tax cerificates ????)
NNooooo that is no radar camera detector

Anything I've missed???

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You have the high visiblity vest number wrong..... just for the driver and must be in the cabin.... not sure about the other stuff..
Yep buy all the stuff you need beforehand. I didn't realise until I was already on the boat! Cost a bomb....
Litho, it is one for each occupant. In case they all have to get out and wait for help.

We asked on the boat when we went over to France recently and the breathalyser kits are not needed until the 1st of July I believe. :)
Now you know why we have immigration problems you need far more to drive in France than to live here lol
Angie, we had this discussion here over a year ago, when this first surfaced about those vests and a Forum French resident put it quite clearly.... that it's only the driver ! Not heard of any amendment since. If on a coach, would all passengers require one too ?
Litho wrote 'If on a coach, would all passengers require one too ?'
Probably find a buoyancy vest tucked under the seat. heh heh


Thanks for responses by the way folks
Don't think there are any breathalysers in Halfords. They should be in ferry port shops when the time comes.
Regulations in france

We're going soon & found this link helpful. They seem to have most of it covered. We are taking Magnetic GB sticker, one warning triangle, one high vis vest kept in car, headlamp beam converters, just in case, a bag with some bulbs in. Will buy breathalyser in France price here £5.00 each, understand much cheaper in France. I believe fine is €11 if caught without breathalyser. Google to check that I am right on the fine. Enjoy your trip.


If you have the GB flag on your number plate you dont need a seperate GB sticker
The magnetic ones are no good for the aluminium X350
Items can all be bought for peanuts on ebay and the breatherlysers which come into effect in July arent being enforced until November
I will be risking the tiny fine for as never been stopped (thanks to the spot on pocketgpsworld speed camera warnings on the tomtom) suprising really considering the speed we drive at :) ) and this is our 7th year in a row we have been
Pocketgpsworld have removed the EXACT location for speed cameras and will now alert to a "dangerzone" which is legal as the exact location is moved slightly and not pinpointed
I'm going on Tuesday, just a couple of days, I've got 1 hi-vis vest, that'll do. How the hell can you put beam deflectors on plain glass? just stick them in the middle? No, the vest will have to do
The beam deflectors will have a list of cars on a folded leaflet in the kit.
Look up your car (and option eg halogen/HID) to see which beam deflector to use from the kit and the position you need to stick them.
To remove warm the glass up by putting the lights on and they just peel off and clean off the sticky stuff with Proshine or wet rag/washing up liquid etc
iirc you need 2 warning triangles in spain? 1 in front 1 behind?
Buck your response most helpful, voice of experience always helps. we're going in June so your breathalyser fine implementation date is good news.

Hi folks.

Just a heads up on Breathalysers.
France has a lower alcohol limit than the UK so, UK Breathalysers are no good. You have to have a French one which probably will have the French 'NF' mark on it.
We still haven't bought any and we live there. In fact I don't know anyone who has yet.

As for Vests. It's just one for the driver. Mine is in the passenger seatback pocket.
Just the one Triangle for France. Remember not to bury it under all of your luggage!

Have a nice holiday.

Cheers. Les.
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The beam deflectors will have a list of cars on a folded leaflet in the kit.
Look up your car (and option eg halogen/HID) to see which beam deflector to use from the kit and the position you need to stick them.
To remove warm the glass up by putting the lights on and they just peel off and clean off the sticky stuff with Proshine or wet rag/washing up liquid etc
Or nail varnish remover will help remove the sticky stuff.
In France at the moment. Just bought 5 breathalysers at 1 Euro each in a motoring shop called Roadys. No doubt shops back home will rip people off. The only thing i would buy on a cross channel ferry is a newspaper. Diesel is E 1.35 at my local station. I read there are hundreds of new speed cameras being put up and possibly with no warning signs. Read in the local rag that a fine for having speed camera radar in the car is about 1200 Euros. Foreign drivers with sat navs that have camera alerts installed must uninstall them. Besides kickboxing and rugby driving up ones arse seems to be a popular custom over here. I let them pass and drive within the speed limit. Lifes too short. I notice that a hotspot for cops with hand held cameras is just inside the town or village limits. It's 50km when you you pass that sign and they will be hiding behind a tree 200 metres up the road. On another topic if bringing a laptop to France a certain well known burger joint with the big M has good free wifi. Also most large towns and cities have free wifi in their main library.
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The TomToms (not TomToms own camera alerts (which now dont have French cameras) but the pocketgps camera alerts) dont have speed camera locations in France just ZD (Zone Dangereuse) which dont pinpoint the exact location (so not breaking the law) just the general area.
However if you are still wary there is a little pocketgpsworld utility for the TomTom which adds a button to the first level menu to delete any POI files ie French Cameras Zones that you specify (incl bmp and ogg). It has been designed specifically to help if you get stopped in France. A couple of screen taps and the files are gone.

There is an option to change the button to Restore after a reboot.

Also currently the French law is quite clear that, even though speedcam POIs are unlawful, police have no powers to inspect your device without a warrant, unless you are under arrest i.e. it will be an add on charge if youre stopped for something else.

From the pocketgps forum
I live in Paris and no one seems to be taking a blind bit of notice of this new law. Everyone (Parisians) I speak to says the law is un-enforcable as:

  • it Breaches the Constitution
  • The Police probably need a Search Warrant to investigate your GPS once switched off
  • Locals will use the "Get-out" of Dangerous Zones and the Police know it**

**All (or nearly all) French Laws are designed with a "get-out", you just have to know the "get-out."
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Hi i have just seen this thread and i know it is a bit late but it may help in the future when driving in France you must carry a full set of bulbs and tools to change them, a warning triangle, a vest for driver and all passengers( in a car or van ) but only the driver or driver's if you are in a coach ( i drive a coach in Europe ) as for breathalyzers you must carry two but if you get stopped and you have to use one you will then be illegal so it is best to carry three also you should carry fire ext, both parts of your driving licence, logbook, insurance docs and accident form , as for sat nav i have french map on internal memory with danger Zones this is legal and full map on memory card i just remove memory card when i go to France the police can look if they want to( DO NOT REFUSE THEM PERMISSION TO LOOK ) if you do they will arrest you so then they can look anywhere.
I hope this helps someone Dell
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Just got back tonight after driving up from Irun via Tours and Le Touquet.

You do not need any breathalyser kits, that has more or less been kicked into touch.

French ministers u-turn on breathalyser fines |

However, the dreaded GPS debacle is getting getting worse. We were stopped at a mobile radar site outside Le Mans and checked out. Luckily we did not have our Sat Nav connected at the time as we were not in any rush and were poodling along (excuse the pun). The Jag Sat Nav is so bad that I think they felt sorry for me when they asked if it picked up speed camera locations. Our lights had been switched over and I had all of the other clutter...they checked the lot.

The Gendarmerie are really cracking down on tourists and looking to fill the coffers with ill gotten fines.

However, in Spain, they are now fining you for smoking while driving. The law was quietly passed and it is about a 200 euro fine if caught. This seems only to apply to foreigners (non Spanish). As we don't smoke, it has no effect but they still want to see all of your original paperwork including MOT and Insurance. Again trying to fill up the coffers at the town hall I think.

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