France’s Loi Montagne - under which regions can decide where drivers need to have snow tyres fitted - comes into force again on November 1, 2023.
Vehicles must either have winter tyres, snow chains, or ‘auto’ socks (chaussettes à neige textiles) if driving through the areas affected.
The rules apply either partially or wholly in 34 departments and last until March 31, 2024.
It is the third year the law has been in place and despite the technical risk of a €135 fine for not adhering to it, a decree enforcing this penalty has still not been passed.
Instead, this will be another year of ‘education’ about the rules, with police checking to see vehicles have suitable tyres installed but not able to issue fines to drivers who do not.
Fewer departments now have snow tyre rule
You can see our map of all the departments that will require snow tyres from November 1 below.
Fourteen departments that required snow tyres in previous years are not applying the rules this winter. These are:
Five departments - Cantal, Haute-Loire, Savoie, Hautes-Alpes, and Haute-Savoie - require the tyres across all communes in the department.
Road signs show start and end of requirements
The remaining departments that have the rule in place, however, only require them in some of the communes within.
This is the case in departments that are only partially mountainous, such as Alpes-Maritimes in the south-east.
You can check the Loi Montagne website to see which communes the rule exists for in departments where it is only partially in place.
However, we note that not all the information is up to date on the website (including new information issued about fines for winter 2023 – 2024) so you should also check local media or your department’s website.
Road signs are also in place showing the start and end of snow tyre requirements.
These are the Panneau B58 and B59, which respectively signal the start and end of the requirements. You can see an example of the signs below.
Credit: Sécurité routière
No fines to be given out
The rule came into place for the 2021 – 2022 winter, with this now being the third year the tyres have been mandatory in some areas of France.
However, once again no fines will be handed out for failing to comply with the regulation.
“To allow time to adapt to the obligation to have winter equipment as set out in the law and its implementing decree, no penalties will be applied during this 2023-2024 winter season,” a source from the Sécurité routière told French media outlet Actu.fr.
There is still an ‘educational’ period relating to the rule, which means police still have the power to stop cars in the areas to check they have the correct equipment installed, and remind them of the law if they do not.
The “impending decree” could be still passed to make the fines enforceable for next winter, but as they have to be published at least six months before coming into force, will not affect any drivers over the next five months.