Driving with a sat nav could see motorists hit with massive £1,300 fine abroad

A driver holding a sat nav

Drivers may receive hefty fines when driving abroad

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 03/08/2023

- 16:24

Updated: 03/08/2023

- 16:24

Driving with a sat nav could see motorists hit with £1,300 fines abroad

Millions of Britons are expected to head on holiday this summer, with an estimated 13 million people already embarking on road trips since the end of the school term.

Many may be driving to the European continent to enjoy the warm weather, but drivers are being warned that they could be hit with huge fines.

According to French law, the use of speed detectors is illegal, and this could apply whether drivers are using the system or not.

While very few people have a mobile speed detector, many drivers with modern satellite navigation systems may unknowingly have them.

Speed cameras

Motorists can turn the feature off on their sat nav


When driving, most sat navs will alert drivers to upcoming speed limit changes, especially when there are signs and even mobile vans in some cases.

GPS systems are banned under French laws, which could include the use of sat navs and other navigation devices that show where speed cameras are.

If someone is caught with one of the banned devices, they could be penalised, with punishments including fines of up to €1,500 or £1,292 and confiscation of the device.

The AA states: “Penalties can be issued if you're using the device or if you simply have it in the car, even if it's switched off.”

In the event that camera locations can be seen when crossing the Channel, drivers are advised to disable camera alerts.

TomTom, one of the largest manufacturers of sat navs, clarifies that its services are available to use in a number of European countries that have rules against certain navigation features.

In the UK, sat navs and driving apps inform drivers of where speed cameras are, while other platforms allow motorists to upload location data informing others of where they could be spotted.

However, in France, TomTom warns of “danger zones” which notifies drivers of potential issues, including speed cameras.

In countries like Turkey, Switzerland, Cyprus, and Macedonia, it is illegal to have speed camera warning systems.

According to Google, once a driver connects to French Wi-Fi or wireless network, the Google Maps feature will automatically be turned off to prevent any issues.

To avoid these kinds of issues from appearing, certain police checks are also not flagged by these apps until a few hours after it has happened.

France also takes other road matters very seriously, including drink driving and speeding, with hefty punishments on offer for those who break the rules.


The UK border to France

The rule applies to France and other European countries


If someone breaks French driving laws, they can have their UK driving licence taken from them by the police, the AA states.

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