Fines for drivers who attempt to pass through motorway péage tolls without paying have been made five times higher in France, increasing to €375 per infraction compared to the previous €75.
The practice is sometimes known as making “a little train” (faire "le petit train") in France, to describe drivers who come up very close behind the driver in front, to attempt to pass through the toll barrier (or péage) without paying themselves.
From yesterday (Thursday March 18), this practice is now considered to be a category 4 infraction, and no longer a category 2, stipulates a decree in the Journal officiel.
This means that the fine per infraction will rise to €375, plus “file fees” of €20-90.
If over a period of 12 months, you accumulate five non-paid €375 fines, then the fine will rise to €7,500. As long as fines remain unpaid, the owner of the car is not allowed to sell it.
The new fine is part of plans to roll out péages without barriers across France, according to the new transport law (la loi d'orientation sur les mobilités), which was first introduced in December 2019.
The new péages will have gates with sensors instead of barriers, in a bid to eliminate traffic jams and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
A source close to the issue told newspaper Le Parisien that a certain lenience would be allowed when the péages first switch over, and that the new fines were in place to make it clear that going through a gate without paying is illegal.
The source said: “As there will be no barrier [in the new péages], we might understand that a driver could forget to pay. But on the other hand, anyone who pushes through a barrier has no excuse.”
So far, there is only one “new style” péage in France, on the A4, between Metz and Forbach.
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