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Information for Travelling across the Channel

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

The latest information on drink drive limits and breathalysers

While most trips to Europe by road you’ll find that this may well involve driving through parts of France, and it could be confusing about the rules in France and how they ma be different to those back home.

The latest rules are: -

The drink drive limit for new drivers (less than 3 years) has changed from 0.05% to 0.02%, making it the same as for bus and coach drivers.

Drivers and riders must not use headphones/headsets or any device attached to the ears. This covers devices for headphones, earpieces for phone calls but Bluetooth and motorcycle helmet integrated systems are allowed.

Speed limits on all country roads in France have changed, they have been reduced to 80kph of 50mph, on roads which are single lanes, bidirectional, and have no central safety barriers as of 1st July 2018. the stays the same (90kph) where the road has two lanes in each direction, or where there are central safety barriers.

Low emission Zones in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble affect all UK registered vehicles from 1st April. You can purchase the CritAir Sticker from https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en, this costs around €3, there is an option on this site to select different languages. If you do not display or carry documentation to prove you have purchased this disc, you could be fined up to €135 (£117). The process can take around six weeks from time of ordering to delivery of the disc, so planning well ahead is wise.

Low Emission Zone Categories

Low Emissions Zone Road Signs

Eating at the Wheel

There has been stories in the press about applying make-up and eating whilst driving, which have been misleading. These issues have been covered under the general French equivalent of the British rule of Driving without due care and attention.


Since July 2012 the French announced that drivers must carry a breathalyser or be fined, the fine was shelved in January 2013, you still need to carry a breathalyser which must show the French certification mark NF and be in date. The single use ones usually have a 12 month life, so it is advisable to check that it is still in date if you purchased one for a previous holiday and it was not used.

Satnav and speed camera alerts

In France you are not allowed to have with you a device that can detect speed cameras.

You could be fined up to €1,500, or possibly have your vehicle taken away.

This law has been extended in 2010 to include satnav or any other GPS-based device, that can detect speed cameras.

You will need to disable the the speed camera alerts on your satnav before driving in France.

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