Do you need to speak French to do a road awareness course?

The requirement to undertake a course resulted from a driving incident

Car in a ditch
A car was reversed into a ditch

Reader question. I have poor French, can I do a road awareness course in the UK and have it accepted in France?

The reader explains further: "Unfortunately I reversed into a ditch and, as I was waiting for a friend to pick me up, I decided to drink some wine I had in my shopping.

"Someone saw the car and called an ambulance and the police who breath-tested me.

"I received a six-month suspension and an order to appear in court. I had to plead guilty to a drink-driving charge, receiving an additional six month suspension and a requirement to undertake a road awareness course.

"I booked a course after emphasising that I had poor French. I attended but was told to go home as my French was not good enough."

The short answer to your query is no.

A stage de sensibilisation à la sécurité routière must be undertaken at a centre that is certified by the prefecture – a list of locations should be available on your local prefecture’s website.

Courses that take place outside of France will not, therefore, benefit from this accreditation.

Accredited centres offer solution

There are, however, alternatives for people who do not speak French.

We spoke to several accredited centres which confirmed that it is possible to attend a course accompanied by somebody who can help with translations, such as a friend or family member.

This should be specified when you sign up to the course.

The association Prévention Routière Formation, for example, said it will not refuse a participant who needs to bring a helper, but this needs to be stated during your enrolment.

However, the association said that for courses aimed at recovering lost licence points, which is not the case here, authorisation must be requested from the prefecture for an interpreter.

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