A driver has been fined by gendarmerie in the south of France not for speeding...but for driving too slowly.
Road gendarmes in Hérault (Occitanie) stopped a driver on the A75 motorway because he was driving at just 48kph in the left-hand ‘fast lane’. Another driver had called number 17 to alert them to the issue.
#Insolite 16/05 appel du 17 ➡️ présence d'un sans permis sur l'A75. Ni 1 ni 2 l'EDSR 34 intercepte le véhicule roulant à 48 km/h— Gendarmerie de l'Hérault (@Gendarmerie_034) May 26, 2021
Le chauffeur a été escorté jusqu'à un lieu sécurisé hors autoroute avec une amende de 22 € pour excès de lenteur#NotreEngagementVotreSécurité pic.twitter.com/JrMUZC2lxC
The slow car in question was also a non-licence vehicle: a voiture sans permis (VSP).
These are smaller, two-seater, electric vehicles that are legal to drive in France without a licence, and which can only reach a top speed of around 45 kph. They are not allowed on motorways.
The driver was fined €22 by the gendarmes, and escorted off the motorway.
How slow can you go?
The gendarmerie later reminded the public that French law – article R413-19 of the highway code – states that no driver is permitted to affect the circulation of other road users without a valid reason.
In addition, laws state that on the motorway, no driver is allowed to use the left-hand lane at a speed of less than 80kph.
The only exceptions are in the case of heavy traffic, bad weather conditions, or if the road has poor grip.
While gendarmerie are more likely to chase after speeding drivers, there have been some notable examples of extreme slowness on French roads over the years.
In 2010, a driver was stopped for driving at 40kph on the A1, in Seine-Saint-Denis; while in 2017, a HGV driver was recorded driving at just 15kph on the A4 near Meaux. He was later found to be over the blood alcohol limit.
And in 2015, an 83-year-old driver received a €35 fine for driving too slowly in the centre of Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes). The speed of the vehicle was not known, but a local police worker judged that the slow speed could “affect the safety of other [road] users”.