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Motoring Lawyer Warns Travellers to Brush Up on Driving Laws
Posted on 26/03/2012
Holidaymakers planning to drive abroad this Easter are urged to ensure they understand their destination’s driving laws before getting behind the wheel.
The warning from Natali Farrell, Road Traffic Lawyer at Just Motor Law, comes following the news that those driving in France now have to carry a breathalyser kit in their car, in addition to the warning triangle and fluorescent safety vest which are already compulsory.
Natali says: “In the run-up to going away, familiarising themselves with that country’s driving laws is often the last thing on people’s minds.
“However, the rules can often be so complex that even those with a basic knowledge of them can easily be caught out.”
The laws in France are particularly easy to unwittingly break, with 8.5% of all motoring offences committed in France being committed by British drivers.
In addition to carrying the breathalyser kit, warning triangle and safety vest, there are other rules that British motorists must adhere to. A GB plate must be displayed, and they should have their headlights adjusted to the right. They should also carry their motor insurance certificate and both paper and photo card parts of their UK driving licence.
But even those drivers carrying the full list of equipment can find themselves in hot water by not being aware of the complexity of the rules. Motorists can still be penalised if, for example, they carry the luminous vest in their boot rather than the main section of the car. They can also be fined if they don’t have a bulb in their car to replace a blown car light.
And Natali warns that France isn’t the only country where drivers can be caught out. She said: “Spanish rules include a penalty for motorists who fail to carry two red warning triangles. These are to be placed, in the event of an accident or breakdown, in front of and behind the vehicle.
“In Italy, private and hire cars aren’t permitted to enter the historic centre of many cities without an official pass. While you can usually purchase a pass from most car hire companies to access the centre if that’s where your hotel is located, this pass will not be valid for entering the centre of any other city.
“Even the US driving laws can fox many people, with, for example, both the speed and drink driving limits lower than in the UK.”
According to Natali, the only way for holidaymakers to ensure they’re driving on the right side of the law is to brush up on their knowledge before they leave home.
She said: “The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office website contains plenty of information about driving in your chosen country. Most of us spend a great deal of time reading up on our destination before we travel there. Just that bit more time spent brushing up on the driving laws can result in a safer holiday for all with little chance of legal repercussions.”