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Is it true that older drivers must put an S sticker on cars in France?

If required it is possible to buy such markers online and display them on your car

Road safety officials say older people are less likely to have accidents Pic: And-One / Shutterstock

Reader Question: I read an article saying soon drivers over a certain age will need to put an ‘S’ sticker on their car to indicate such age. Is this correct? 

In fact it is already possible – but not obligatory – to use one of these if you wish.

Several sites, including Amazon, sell autocollants (stickers) with an ‘S’ on them and wording such as Votre ainé au volant (senior citizen at the wheel). 

It is legal to use this to inform other drivers that there is an elderly person behind the wheel, if you feel it is useful.

However, there are no plans for this to become a mandatory fixture unlike the ‘A’ sticker for those who have recently passed their test. 

Social Media claims are false

The claim is sometimes seen on social media platforms such as Facebook, but this should be classed as ‘fake news’, said road officials from Sécurité Routière.

There are no proposed bills to the National Assembly or Senate – nor any manifesto pledges from any political party – to make the stickers mandatory for elderly drivers. 

Sécurité Routière states that older drivers are actually less likely to be involved in accidents than other age groups, however if they do happen they are often more serious, due to the increased fragility of the driver. 

Ability to drive can be affected by advancing age, the officials add, but this varies from one person to another. You should seek advice from your doctor if you think that your state of health is affecting your driving. 

In some cases, for example, vehicle adaptations can help people continue driving with certain health conditions or disabilities. 

Badges are mandatory for younger drivers 

An ‘A’ (for apprenti) badge is mandatory in the case of new drivers who are still learning to master the skill of driving, hence apprenti - learner. 

This should not be confused with the different stickers that learners who have not yet passed their test use if driving accompanied by a family member, which says conduite accompagnée and shows two people on it. 

Those who recently pass their test (for the first time – if you have retaken the test in France after passing it elsewhere it is not necessary) must have one of these on their cars as long as they have a probationary licence with a reduced number of licence points on it.

This is for a two or three year period, depending on how / where they learned to drive. 

Related articles: 

French MP wants debate on ‘fit-to-drive’ medicals for over 75s

Mixed bag as our readers respond to debate on tests for older drivers

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