Learning to Drive in France

The regulations affecting teenage drivers in France...

The minimum age for driving in France is:

  • 14 for a motorcycle or moped below 50cc
  • 16 for a more powerful motorcycle of 50 to 125cc. A licence, category A1 is required.
  • 18 for a car or motorcycle over 125cc

Many French teenagers have scooters. Scooters of 50cc and below are not allowed on the motorway (autoroute). It is a requirement for those 14 years old who wish to ride a scooter or motorcycle to attend seven hours of training, pass a written test and a practical test. This is in an attempt to reduce the number of serious accidents and deaths which occur each year.

A full driving licence is required for anything over 50cc.

Approved crash helmets must be worn by motorcycle riders and their passengers at all times. Third party (responsabilité civile/minimale/tiers illimitée) insurance is compulsory for all vehicles. Comprehensive insurance is also available. It is compulsory to carry the driving licence, vehicle registration papers and insurance documents at all times.

To help young people learn to drive the government operates a scheme allowing those with financial difficulties to learn to drive at minimal expense (permis à 1 euro par jour).

The Ministry of Transport website Sécurité Routière also gives the legal requirements for driving plus road safety information (in French).

Driving and alcohol

Drivers in France are more regularly stopped and breathalysed now than in the past even in rural areas. A driver is considered to be driving drunk if the blood/alcohol level equals or exceeds 0.5 grams per litre. Serious punishments apply (including prison terms) if a driver is seriously over the limit or the presence of a banned substance (drugs) is detected.

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