top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

Report finds 770,000 people driving in France without valid licence

These drivers were involved in 6% of fatal accidents in 2020. The number of people driving without a licence has risen by more than 50% in six years, a new road safety report finds

Almost 770,000 people in France were found to have been driving without a licence, the most recent road safety report suggested Pic: RVillalon / Shutterstock

More than three-quarters of a million people in France are thought to be driving regularly without a driving licence, a new study suggests, with these drivers involved in 6% of fatal accidents last year.

Figures from the latest road security report show that in 2019, 770,000 people were driving regularly without a valid licence in France. 

This represented an 18% rise compared to 2018, and a 54% rise compared to the figures for 2014.

The report: “In 2020, 6% of drivers involved in a fatal accident and 3.5% of those in an accident that caused severe injury were driving without a valid licence”.

These figures have risen by 2.2 percentage points and 1.3 percentage points respectively since 2010, it added.

(Although there are some cars that can be legally driven without a licence in France, the study only considered vehicles for which a full licence is required.)

Out of the 2,550 road deaths counted last year – an historically low number due to the pandemic lockdowns keeping people off the roads – 220 people were “killed in an accident with a driver without a licence; 9% of the people killed”.

Of the fatal accidents recorded, half of drivers without a licence were also over the alcohol driving limit, said the national road safety observatory l'Observatoire national interministériel de la sécurité routière (ONISR).

Why are people driving without a licence?

Some of those said to be driving without a licence are doing so because they either consider it too expensive and difficult to get one, or they have declined to get another licence after losing all of their points*, or after having had their licence confiscated by police or a court, according to Le Parisien.

It comes amid a wider context of increased crackdowns on driving behaviour, including increased numbers of speed cameras, which contribute to the loss of almost 100,000 licences being suspended due to points being taken off, according to driving association 40 millions d’automobilistes.

Driving without a licence runs the risk of up to a year in prison and a fine of €15,000.

In case of an accident, insurance will not cover drivers who are driving without a licence, and the perpetrator may be forced to pay compensation to their victim in addition.

The insurance fund le Fonds de Garantie des Assurances Obligatoires de dommages (FGAO) told Le Parisien: “The FGAO will compensate the victim but will turn to the responsible perpetrator to claim reimbursement of the sums paid.”

The FGAO cited the example of a driver who was required to pay €30 per month over six years to their victim who they injured in a road accident.

*In France, driving licences have a certain number of points that are taken away in case of an offence, in contrast to the UK where points are added in case of an offence.

Related articles

When is medical needed to swap non-EU driving licence for French one?

All new cars in France to have automated speed monitors from July 2022

Private speed camera cars to arrive in Dordogne in April 2022

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now