France is due to overhaul its current system of driving licences to introduce cards that carry digital information.
Le Figaro raise the point that the licence changeover could be an ideal time to look at the law regarding elderly drivers. We asked you for your thoughts.
One thing I fail to understand, is the number of Brits who are convinced that they don't have to change over to a French licence when living here permanently. The law states that you licence must show your home address, you cannot hold a UK licence with a French address. Where did this myth spring from? It must be a positive move to ensure anyone of any age is fit to drive and their sight is also OK. These should be regularly checked, licence should also show if the holder should wear glasses.
Clare Comrie, Appeville
Connexion replies: This area of law, which a few readers commented on, is a little confusing (not least because of some apparent contradictions) but it is perfectly legal to drive in France on your UK licence, even as a permanent resident.
Yes, the address on your UK licence is no longer correct, but both French and EU law accept that the licence is still valid and allow you to drive. (In practice the address is only really used in terms of offences, in which case you have to swap your licence anyway).
You only need to change your licence in three circumstances. 1) Voluntarily – there is nothing to stop you doing it; 2) If you are prosecuted for motoring offences; 3) If you want to keep driving beyond the age of 70 and have a UK licence. In case three the problem is because the DVLA cannot renew a licence to a French address.
Just a quick note to correct a statement made in this week's email newsletter. In the UK, annual medical checks after the age of 65 are only necessary for those who wish to go on driving heavy vehicles. For car drivers there are no annual medical checks, even after statutory licence renewal at the age of 70.
Yes, apologies for the error. UK licences must be renewed at 70 and every three years thereafter. At each renewal makes a declaration themselves that they are fit to drive. (As for all those under 70 it falls to the driver to inform the DVLA of medical conditions that prevent them from driving.)
See www.dft.gov.uk/dvla/medical.aspx for full details. .
Any 'clampdown' must be based on facts. What evidence is there to show that older drivers are more likely to have an accident than younger ones? All the evidence to date shows that younger drivers are more likely to have an accident due to inexperience and that is why their insurance is so high.
Unless the case can be proven, then it is just a case of regulation for the sake of regulation. No doubt that will mean another level of bureaucracy and more unnecessary cost for the older driver.
I'M A 71-year-old expat, hopefully still compos mentis, holding a full UK licence since 1961, exchanged for French licence in 1989. No accidents, no claims. So I'm quite a smart boy, doncher think? I live in a small town, thank God, because I can't stand cities, but even here, the standard in general of French drivers beggars description. Without doubt, the French wrinklies (doing 20 or 80 kph through town, ignoring pedestrian crossings, unable to park etc) should be obliged to have a relatively simple annual test, (eyesight, reaction times) before one of the silly old sods kills me. Or somebody important.