Drivers in France banned from reporting police road checks on driving apps

French police at a roadblock after a shooting
It will be illegal to post warnings about French police roadblocks. Photo: Clement Mahoudeau/AFP
A new law in France will prevent drivers from warning other motorists of police checks and roadblocks up ahead via smartphone apps such as Waze.

From November 1st popular driving apps such as Waze or Coyote will no longer be allowed to display warnings from motorists about police checks up ahead.

However the legislation, which was passed in April and comes into force on Monday, November 1st, contains plenty of caveats.

Roads

The measure affects only départemental roads and roads within a town or city, not autoroutes.

White zones

According to the legislation, reporting will only be banned in an area declared a ‘white zone’ by police due to specific operations being run there such as a roadblock for drug or alcohol checks or a police operation relating to terrorism or kidnapping. The reporting blackout is limited to a set period of time depending on the type of police operation.

Speeding

The ban does not concern police speed checks. Reporting the presence of fixed speed cameras on apps has been banned since 2012, but reporting the presence of officers carrying out a mobile speed checks is allowed.

In rural areas it’s common for oncoming cars to flash their lights to warn you that there are cops up ahead. This is technically illegal but plenty of people still do it.

READ ALSO The driving offences that can cost you points on your licence

Reports

Users of the apps will still be able to make reports on police activity, but they will not be visible to other road-users if they meet the condition for a block.

Phone bans

Hopefully this goes without saying, but if you’re using the apps while en route it should be the passenger, not the driver. Scrolling through apps while driving is obviously highly dangerous, and people caught using their phones for any reason while driving face losing three points off their licence and a €135 fine.

If you were using your phone while committing another driving offence such as speeding, running a red light or dangerous driving, you face the loss of your licence.


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