How life will change in France as of July 1st

Life will slightly change in France as of Wednesday July 1st with everything from driving rules, dodgy parking and family allowance payments affected. Here’s what you need to know.

How life will change in France as of July 1st
Dodgy parking is no longer being tolerated with steep fines coming into force on July 1st. Photo: AFP

As always on July 1st a raft of reforms and new laws will come into force.

So you don’t get caught out, here’s a few to be aware of.

Road safety rules:

Many of the most important changes are in the area of road safety.

For a start headphones and other wireless earpieces are now forbidden when driving.

The measure also applies to scooters and cyclists, who will  no longer be allowed to stick their phones under their helmets as many are prone to do.

Basically if you want to talk on the phone while driving, you’ll have to use the car speakers via Bluetooth or put the phone on loud speaker. Anyone who doesn’t respect the new rules faces a €135 fine.

The new laws also include a ban on eating sandwiches at the wheel, putting on make-up or listening to loud music, which could result in a €75 fine. It's all designed to allow drivers in France to improve their concentration levels, which can't be a bad thing.

No drink driving for new drivers

France continues to crack down on drink-driving and especially among youngsters. A new measure brought in on July 1st sees the alcohol limit for young drivers cut to 0.2g/l. Basically meaning they can’t have a drink at all before getting behind the wheel.

Anyone who does and gets caught will get six points on their license. The measure concerns those who have been driving for less than three years.

Parking charges

The cost of parking your car will no longer be charged on an hourly basis. Parking machines will now be set so that tariffs go up every quarter of an hour. Don’t expect parking to get any cheaper however as many providers have simply bumped up their rates.

Fines go up for dodgy parking

Many people complain about French drivers parking anywhere and the government is trying to crack down. Those caught leaving their cars on pavements or in cycle lanes or pedestrian crossings now face a €135 fine, that’s an increase of €100.

Polluting coaches and trucks banned from Paris

As part of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s war on pollution, coaches and trucks registered before 2001 are now banned from entering Paris.

No smoking with kids in car

It is now against the law to smoke in a car where a child younger than 12 years of age is present. If you do, you face a €68 fine. Smoking in outdoor play areas for children is also now banned.

Family allowances cut for the most well off

Those couples with two children who earn more than €6,000 a month net, will see their family allowances (Allocations familiales) cut in two, to around €65 from €129. Those who earn €8,000 a month net will see the allowance cut by three quarters. Around 485,000 families will be affected, though they won’t notice the cut till their payment arrives in August.

Gas prices to be cut by 1.3 percent

Another cut in gas prices is good news for customers of provider Engie.

Foods to carry allergy warnings

From now on pre-packaged foods must carry warnings for 14 different substances that could provoke a reaction for consumers who are either allergic or intolerant. Restaurants will also have to warn clients of the products either on the menus or clearly within the premises.

Asbestos limits lowered

Legal limits for the amount of asbestos that construction workers are exposed to in old buildings have been cut tenfold in a bid to reduce on the number of diseases it causes each year in France – estimated to be around 5,000.

Self-testing kits for Aids

From now on people will be able to carry out a test for the Aids virus without having to go to a clinic, with kits available in pharmacies.

Prices for pills

The labels on medication and pills will be altered so that the prices are made much clearer as well as how the cost of each medication is reimbursed, either by the state or the “mutuelle”.

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Norway mass killer Breivik changes his name

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, his lawyer said on Friday, the day after the country's Supreme Court rejected the neo-Nazi killer's case over "inhumane" prison conditions.

Norway mass killer Breivik changes his name
Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix

“I can confirm that he has changed his name, it's official,” Oystein Storrvik told AFP, confirming reports by the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG).

Asked why Breivik had decided on the name change, Storrvik said: “I do not want to disclose the content of our discussions.”

In July 2011 Breivik, disguised as a police officer, tracked and gunned down 69 people, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoya, shortly after killing eight people in a bombing outside a government building in Oslo.

He has never expressed any remorse for committing the worst atrocity in Norway's post-war history. He said he killed his victims because they embraced multiculturalism.

Before proceeding with the attacks, he circulated an ideological “manifesto” signed under the name Andrew Berwick.

A search in the Norwegian business register confirms that Breivik Geofarm, an agricultural firm created by Breivik to obtain fertilisers used to make a bomb, is now registered in the name of Fjotolf Hansen.

While Hansen is a very common surname in Norway, Fjotolf is rarely used, if ever.

The now 38-year-old inmate is serving a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended indefinitely.

Breivik has complained about his isolation from other inmates for safety reasons since his arrest in 2011, and sued the Norwegian state over his prison conditions.

His lawyer said on Thursday that he would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights after exhausting all legal options in Norway where the Supreme Court refused to hear his case.