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Friday, 16 October 2009

French motorcyclist fined for wearing contact lenses

All right the headline is a little misleading as will become clear. But in essence it's what happened.

Once again it's time to say "road users in France beware".

After the recent case of a motorist being fined (€22) for smoking behind the wheel of his car, comes the story of a motorcyclist being pulled over for not "having glasses about his person" - to put it in good "police speak".

It happened last Tuesday on the streets of the French capital as Jérôme, an engineer, set out on his motor scooter to an appointment at the dentist.

At one point on his journey he ran a traffic light as it turned amber to "avoid braking too suddenly". But as (bad) luck would have it a couple of police officers saw him and he was stopped.

Now, what would have been a standard infraction with a possible €22 fine quickly escalated to something a little more absurd as he was asked for his papers, which the 37-year-old duly handed over.

Jérôme you see is near-sighted and as such required by law to wear glasses, or at least have them somewhere in the vehicle when driving, although the language on his licence puts it in a more gobbledygook fashion than that.

At least that's how the officers on duty interpreted the law.

Well he wasn't wearing glasses, but he was wearing contact lenses, which you might be thinking would have conformed with the sense of what was actually written on his licence.

Er....think again.

Because he didn't have a supplementary pair of glasses with him, one of the police officers handed Jérôme a €90 fine and lopped three points from him for "driving a vehicle without respecting the restrictions mentioned on his licence."

What's more he also advised him to "read the highway code again."

And that's exactly what Jérôme did, but he couldn't find the exact text to which the officer was referring and has decided to contest the fine.

"I don't consider it to be justified," he said.

"I'm not a danger to society and besides without lenses I don't see anything."

He's not alone in thinking the officer overreacted and has of Jean-Baptiste Iosca, a lawyer specialising in the rules of the road and traffic contraventions.

"The law requiring all drivers to carry a pair of glasses in the glove compartment of the vehicle was repealed in 1997," he said.

"I dealt with a similar case in May this year and my client was not charged."

Um. Who should it be Jérôme rereading the highway code?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

er...and where exactly would the glove compartment on a scooter be anyway? a little absurld, we would agree. K'sMa

Cheap Contact Lenses said...

This is something I can't believe. I don't see why cheap contact lenses could cause such poblems.

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