France - Society

Companies forced to report employees' traffic offences

Drivers in company cars might watch the speedometer closer as threat of fines mounts
Drivers in company cars might watch the speedometer closer as threat of fines mounts AFP PHOTO/ DAMIEN MEYER

A new law that will come into effect on New Year's Day will make it mandatory for French employees to declare driving offences committed by staff using company vehicles.


However, owners of small and medium sized businesses, who fear tensions with their employees are unhappy about the new legislation.

Currently, French employees found guilty of a traffic offence in a company car don't lose any points unless their company informs authorities. They do, however, generally pay the fine.

Now employers will have no choice than cough up offenders names to police.

The legislation passed in October will be introduced on January 1st.

According to lawyer Déborah David, it "goes way too far", because it imposes on patrons a "moral and a financial burden".

"Creating this kind of institutionalised admonishment won’t help relations within companies," she said.

Dominique Berthauld, the owner of two small and medium-sized transport companies employs about 70 drivers. He says he receives two to three fines a week, but has refused until now to expose his workers for "small offences" … “like doing 51 or 52 km/h, instead of 50.

"The only time I declared it was for a driver who got caught doing 104 km/h instead of 90. He was driving like a crazy," he said.

But now Berthauld has begun to warn his employees that he will soon be obliged to spill the beans.

This will just bring on more workplace stress, he said. “If an employee loses his license it will be my fault. For sure this will create tension, but I have no choice.”

Heavy fines for dodgers

If companies do not declare the traffic infractions of their staff within 45 days, they face fines themselves of 750 euros.

On top of that the new law could lead to added administrative costs.

Dominique Berthauld says the procedure will require a couple of hours of paperwork a month and cost 40 euros each week for companies to send two or three traffic violations by registered mail.

Berthauld is already anticipating the loss of some of his drivers and is worried about the hassle of having to replace them.

For Patrice Clos, federal secretary of the transport union FO-UNCP, (Fédération Nationale des Transports et de la Logistique), says small and medium businesses will be the most concerned.

"In big companies, many are already denouncing their staff," he said.



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