In our third (when will it end) look at why you might be behaving illegally or at least be uninsured without knowing it, it’s back to drivers again.
You know already that your car insurance might be invalid if you are driving illegally, and we have already seen that a UK registered car without UK road tax and/or MOT is being driven illegally. So doubtless you have rushed off to start the process of re-registering your car in France.
But what about your driving licence? Still using that UK licence because it seems such a hassle to change it?
If you are still using a UK licence but resident in France, and you have ever had the pleasure of being stopped for speeding, the jolly gendarmes will have told you to change the licence for a French one. The same principle applies if you got points from a side of the road radar without being stopped
That wasn’t a casual throwaway comment – it was a legal requirement. If you commit an offence in France that involves being awarded points apparently you MUST change your licence so the points can be ‘awarded’.
So guess what? If you never got round to it, forgot, or couldn’t be bothered, then you are driving with an invalid licence – so also perhaps with invalid insurance…
Scary, huh! I seem to remember I had a UK licence for at least a year after getting speeding points.
The good news is, while changing driving licences was quite a hassle a few years ago it is now very straightforward. Just pop in to your local sous-prefecture (I think even town mairies can handle the process but I’m not completely sure) and they’ll have you sorted in no time.
For some strange reason both myself and Mrs B seem to have French licences that also allow us to drive buses or great big lorries. Well you never know when that might come in useful as a second career.I suppose something got muddled in the translation because I would not be great with an articulated lorry, and I certainly shouldn’t be trusted with a bus full of passengers.
In any case, it’s also quite useful to have a French licence as proof of identity, so there aren’t many reasons to hang on to your UK licence if you are living in France.
Note: if you haven’t commited an offence you are allowed to keep your UK licence – but if the address shown on your licence is now incorrect you need to get it changed anyway, and that will almost certainly mean changing it for a French licence…