Warning Triangles and Reflective Jackets

French Police look to Wednesday windfall in road fines

30 September 2008

Carrying a reflective jackwet is now compulsory in France

French police may enjoy a windfall from Wednesday onwards as laws requiring reflective jackets and warning triangles in cars become enforceable with fines, the AA warns.

This comes at the end of a month when an Italian municipality searched its road offences records and harvested fines from UK drivers dating as far back as June 2007.

Persistent reports of gendarmes inspecting cars and ticking off a list of required safety equipment items have continued to filter through to the AA this summer.

On Wednesday 1 October, drivers in France who are not carrying a reflective jacket or a warning triangle may be fined on the spot €90 – €135.

Pisa

Vehicles prohibited sign in Pisa, Italy Throughout September, UK travellers who hired cars in the Italian municipality of Pisa have been receiving demands for fines, usually €113 for offences last year, with some dating back 15 months.

Although the offences relate to cars being driven down roads closed to motor vehicles and marked with internationally-recognised signs, camera evidence shows the number plates but not the street context of the offence – as is required under UK law. UK moving-offence fines are also limited to within six months of the infringement.

AA comment

"Differences in the way other countries enforce their traffic and road safety laws are always going to raise the hackles of UK drivers, particularly when it comes to standards of evidence, signage and time limits. However, there has to be an acceptance of "when in Rome..." – and learn the road rules of the country you're visiting," says Edmund King, president of the AA.

"The French enforcement of the reflective jacket and warning triangle regulations are likely to re-ignite concerns among European motoring groups about searching foreign cars."

The AA will be seeking feedback from drivers in France over the coming months with a particular focus on:

  • the number of reflective jackets the police say a car should be carrying
  • the circumstances of any searches
  • the number of times UK drivers are searched or fined during a single trip.

The AA will liaise and consult with other clubs on the Continent to decide if representations are needed to the French and EU authorities.

AA advice

Drivers heading to France should equip their car with at least one reflective jacket and a warning triangle.

Not only does this avoid risking a fine but can improve the safety of passengers and other drivers if you are unfortunate enough to breakdown.

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