Drivers in France caught using their mobile phone at the wheel could face having their licence suspended under new rules.
Reuters reports that president Emmanuel Macron’s Government is under pressure to combat rising road deaths – which have been increasing since 2014.
The mobile phone ban was one of several measures announced on 9 January, along with lowering speed limits on country roads (departmental roads) from 90km/h to 80km/h.
The RAC says it is ‘clear that action needed to be taken to save lives’ in France – adding that experience from the UK shows that country roads are responsible for far more deaths than motorways and dual carriageways.
The RAC adds that British drivers visiting France are ‘unlikely to experience too much impact’ – but will have to get used to ‘driving 10mph slower on A and B roads than they would at home’.
The French media site RTL says the French Government wants to impose a three month suspension for drivers caught using their mobile phone.
However, the punishment would only be imposed on drivers considered to have caused danger to others; for example, a motorist who is on the phone while approaching a pedestrian crossing or a school.
In the UK, the penalty for those caught using a mobile phone while driving was doubled to six points and a £200 fine in March 2017.
Data published by the RAC in December 2017 shows a fall in the number of mobile phone offences detected by police following the introduction of the tougher penalties.
The statistics show around 1,700 fewer drivers were stopped for using a handheld phone in the three months after stiffer penalties were introduced, compared to the three months immediately prior.
In contrast, a survey published by the RAC in September 2017 suggests that as many as 9m UK drivers could still be using their mobile phones at the wheel.