Watch out; there’s a gendarme about

The local press reported the case of an English driver rushing to catch a ferry, arrested, fined and points put on his licence. Needless to say he missed his ferry, is out of pocket, and his car is immobilised awaiting a valid licence holder collecting it and taking it back to England.

He was recorded as driving at up to 183kmph in a 110km limit – a dual carriageway. The gendarmes immobilised his car and took him to a cash point to withdraw the €450 on-the-spot fine (he obviously did not have that much cash on him; cards and cheques are not acceptable). €90 is the basic speeding fine, but then an amount is added for extra kilometres over the limit.

A concern in the past has been that points have not been recorded on non-French licences. In this case the gendarmes confiscated the licence and sent it away for processing properly. Hence he was not allowed to drive his car.

We’ve heard in the past of others being caught out by not understanding or following the letter of the law!! It’s not really worth the hassle of complaining after the event. Much better to be sure, before you set out, of what the law requires, and what are the duties of the upholder’s of the law.

Some minor examples – having log-book, insurance documents, passport and driving licence with you at all times; having warning triangle, spare bulbs and so on, in the car. Check it out before you visit. Rather be safe than sorry.

Bob and Marjory