Our reader was driving their UK-registered car when they were flashed by a French speed camera. But they could easily have been in Belgium Germany, Spain, Italy or Norway. They want to know if speeding fines incurred on UK cars in France will land on their door mat at home.
What happens if I get flashed by a French speed camera?
After Brexit, the rules changed on whether fines for UK drivers caught speeding in France (and other EU countries) could be enforced in the UK.
Once the UK left the European Union, the EU Cross Border Enforcement Directive no longer applied.
The result is drivers flashed by a speed camera in France won’t be fined because French authorities can’t track them via their car’s registration back to the UK.
Before Brexit, French speed limit enforcers could request the details of drivers from the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Automated fines were then sent to drivers in the post. Authorities had up to 100 days after the offence was committed to post the fine out.
What happens if you get caught speeding in France?
When we say ‘caught speeding’, we mean if a UK driver is handed a physical speeding ticket in France, perhaps after being snapped by a mobile radar. In this case, you’re likely to receive an on-the-spot fine. The amount of these varies depending on how fast you were going.
Is France strict on speeding?
France is becoming increasingly strict on speeding. The amount of the fine varies, depending on how much you exceed the speed limit by.
How much are French speeding fines?
Exceed the speed limit by 50km/h (31mph) and it’ll be €1,500 (£1,290).
If you’re 20-50km/h over, the fine will be €135 (£116).
It’s the same fine if you’re breaking the speed limit by less than 20km/h (12mph) when the limit is less than 50km/h.
If you’re less than 20km/h over the limit when the limit is more than 50km/h, the fine will be €68 (£59).
Do speeding fines affect your UK licence?
If you get stopped for speeding by a gendarme, you will be fined on the spot – unless they’re feeling very charitable – and that will be the end of it. You will not get points on your licence for speeding in France.
Can EU authorities track you down in the UK?
No not currently. After Brexit, the rules changed. It means that previous EU laws no longer apply to UK drivers.
In 2015, the UK signed up to the EU’s Cross Border Enforcement Directive. This required all members to share details about drivers who had broken the law in countries they didn’t live in. That meant French speed limit enforcers
How long will this go on for?
Being unable to enforce fines in the UK is apparently costing the French treasury around €60 million a year. They are thus keen to set up a bilateral arrangement with the UK. This would be similar to the one they have with Switzerland.
If the French can’t fine us, we can’t fine French (or any other EU drivers) who speed in the UK. But we couldn’t before Brexit either.
This is because law in EU countries entitles authorities to go after the owners of cars who’ve broken the law. But as the UK was/is a sovereign nation, we’ve chosen to apply the law differently. We punish the drivers of cars who’ve broken the law. If the authorities can’t prove who was driving, they can’t levy the fine.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.