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What items must you legally have with you in car in France?

The law outlines fines for not having certain items though it can depend on how strict the police or gendarmes decide to be on the day if you are stopped

No triangle or safety jacket can mean a €135 fine Pic: Kinga / Shutterstock

Reader question: I know there are certain items that must be carried in the car in France. But are there actually any penalties for not doing this? F.I. 

When driving in France, you must carry your driving licence, the car’s registration document (commonly called a carte grise) and the car’s insurance documents. 

You must also have a safety jacket (gilet de sécurité voiture) inside the car and a warning triangle (triangle de présignalisation), which can be in the boot. 

And yes, the law outlines fines for not having any one of these, though it can depend on how strict the police or gendarmes decide to be on the day.

Pic: Service Public (DILA)

If you are stopped without your licence, you could be fined up to €38. In this case, you would be given five days to produce the licence at a local police station. Failure to do so could mean a €750 fine. 

Failure to produce insurance papers could lead to a €150 fine. As with the driving licence, you have five days to produce it at a local police station, failing which you could be fined €750. 

Not having insurance at all is a more serious offence: it could land you with a fine of €3,750 but can also result in a driving ban or having your vehicle confiscated. 

You may also be fined €135 (which may be reduced to €90 for quick payment) for not having a windscreen sticker showing a valid contrôle technique (CT) – French equivalent of an MOT – or CT certificate. 

No triangle or safety jacket can mean a €135 fine. 

The jacket must have the CE mark on it and the triangle must be certified E 27 R. 

Ones bought in French motoring supplies shops or supermarkets and petrol station shops will generally comply. These are sometimes sold together as a kit de sécurité auto.

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2022 changes for drivers in France: Higher taxes and speed limiters

Process, costs, carte grise: How to register a car in France

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