DUI, French police and silent protests

DUI. Driving under influence. That was the subject of the conversation on way home from an office party. My colleague left his car at home and decided to take the public transport like a responsible citizen. It makes sense. If the cops catch you driving under influence, you lose points on your driver's license and pay higher insurance. If you have lost too many points, then you lose your privilege to drive.

The point systems in France works similar to any other developed countries in many ways. The rules regarding the upper limit and how many points for each infraction might change depending on countries. But the basic philosophy remains the same. That is what I gathered from the conversation. As with most of the conversation I engage with my friends, this one also was an eye-opener. The lessons I learnt varied from sharing in a relationship to silent protests from employees of a big organization.

My friend likes to step on the gas when given a chance. With hidden traffic cameras, he has also been recorded a couple of times. The camera captures the rear license plate. So the cops do not know who was driving. Although he could claim the vehicle was driven by a friend, he doesn't do that. Instead he asks his wife to share the points when he is in a critical juncture like redeeming his lost points in next few months primarily because of good driving habits or not getting caught by the cops. I didn't know sharing the points was a possibility in a relationship. It only means only one thing. There is a good level of trust in that relationship.

On an occasion, my friend was stopped by the cops. He paid the fees. Later in the court, he argued against the traffic violation on a technicality and won the case. As a result, there was no points accumulated although there was an acceptable financial loss. So, what is this technicality? The cops are supposed to tick one column in the paper served to you. The tick mark informs the offender about possible loss of points because of the traffic violation.

Here is the twist in the tick mark tale. The cops deliberately don't tick the mark. According to them, the offender pays the fine for speeding. But they should not be further punished with a loss of points. To make matters complicated, the bonus of the cops are depended on the traffic fines they are able to hand out. Isn't that weird? It gets more interesting. The cops hate to be on traffic duty because they believe they have to out there preventing more serious crime. But still, they have to do this because of bonuses. So they protest silently by not ticking the check box.

Tags: Musings,France,DUI,Cops



  1. Interesting system. Would it work in developing country like India? Not too sure.

    1. I am sure it will work in India too. But we might take some time to reach this point though. :)

  2. Replies
    1. I believe we will reach this stage. It is not optimism but the natural way of progress. However, I am not able to predict when this will happen. :)


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