DESPITE FRANCE being one of the most popular holiday destinations for Britons, over half of motorists have no idea of what they need to bring with them when they cross the Channel.
A host of safety-related equipment must be carried by every driver in France, and failing to do so can land drivers with a fine of up to €135 (£120) for every item they are unable to produce if stopped by police.
According to a survey of travellers, published by the breathalyser maker AlcoSense, 56% of respondents couldn’t name one single item of equipment they needed to have when driving in France. This was in spite of the fact that those polled had recently been driving in continental Europe, and were likely to have travelled in the country.
Only 24% were aware of the legal requirement to have an alcohol breathalyser when driving in France. A quarter (26%) mentioned you have to carry a high viz jacket for each occupant of the car. A third (34%) were aware of the requirement for a warning triangle. The figure for spare bulbs was a mere 15%.
Further research found many motorists appear to be ignorant of additional vehicle legislation to adhere to when driving in French cities with low emissions zones, such as Paris and Lyons. Of those surveyed, only a quarter were aware of them, of which only 26% correctly stated a “Crit’Air vignette”, or clean air sticker, must be displayed on their car’s windscreen when they’re in these areas.
Even basics were seemingly oblivious to many of those quizzed in the survey. Just 42% knew a V5 or logbook needed to be in the car at all times when driving in France, with a similar amount of people knowing you needed insurance forms and an MOT certificate if the vehicle is over three years old too.
Perhaps most startling of all, just a third of those surveyed knew a GB emblem had to be on the car when they were driving in France – either as part of the car’s numberplate or a GB sticker.
Commenting on the findings, AlcoSense’s managing director Hunter Abbott said: “British drivers are risking the safety of themselves and other roads users by not carrying the correct equipment, let alone the hefty fines that are imposed for now complying with French law”.
He added: “we only polled motorists who had driven their own car to Europe in the past two years, so we were shocked by the general lack of awareness”.