Speeding fines for foreigners in hire cars in France
The French police have the authority to issue speeding fines that are far above the usual standard in many other European countries. It is therefore important that you respect the French speed limit applicable at all times when on a driving holiday in France – regardless of whether the holiday takes place in your own vehicle, or in a hire car hired in France.
French motorists noticed a long time ago that the speeding fines had risen, and it is because of this that the quality of driving in France is much better now than it was just 10 years ago.
A large proportion of the speed checks in France are done my using automatic speedometers on the hard shoulder. As well as the usual speed cameras, the French police often conduct speed checks.
The way in which a French speed-raid is conducted is very systematic, and the presence of officers can often be quite impressive.
At large events, such as the famous Le Mans 24 hour race in the north west of France by the city of Le Mans, foreign tourists in fast cars can expect to be closely observed when it comes to speeding offences.
Driving too fast in a hire car in France is expensive
If you receive a speeding fine in France as a foreigner it must be paid on the spot.
The police often use motorbikes or unmarked police cars and if they pull you over for driving 50 km/h over the speed limit you can expect not only a hefty fine of approximately €750 to be paid immediately. You will also receive a ban from driving in France for 3-6 months which takes immediate effect. Your driving licence will get confiscated and sent back by post at a later date.
In the event of a particularly bad offence your hire car or private car can be confiscated on the spot.
It is also worth mentioning that so called police radar-detectors are illegal in France. If the police spot a vehicle fitted with such equipment they will issue a fine of €1500-€2000, a ban from driving in France, confiscate the detector and you even risk them confiscating the vehicle itself. The radar device is not even allowed in the luggage.
Fine rates in France (summer 2010)
- Over 50km/h over limit: €750-€1500
- 40-50 km/h over limit: up to €750
- 30 km/h over limit: up to €135
- Minor speeding offences: usually €45 - €100
If you are involved in a serious accident in France involving bodily injury you may be subject to a fine of up to €15000. You also risk a prison sentence for very serious offences.
It is worth noting that there is an extra low speed limit of 50 km/h in force on ANY road in France during heavy rain or fog (visibility under 50 metres)