- Published on 25 May 2022
A 55-year-old man from the northern French department of Aisne was driving his car on April 7, blissfully unaware that the eyes of the law were upon his ears. Six days later, Dominique Moret received notification of a 135 euro fine and a three-point penalty for "driving a vehicle with a device capable of emitting sound in the ear".
The French wording for the offence was "conduite d’un véhicule avec port à l’oreille d’un appareil susceptible d’émettre du son". Despite this sounding like an interpretation worthy of such officers of the "leu" as Inspector Clouseau, it appears that mistaking the driver's medically prescribed hearing aids for a hands-free headset or other device - illegal since 2015 in France to use hands-free headsets while driving a car, mototbike, or riding a bicycle - is a misunderstanding this citizen will have to fight to have rectified.
The alleged infringement was apparently identified by an agent using binoculars.
Indignant and astounded, Monsieur Moret must now strive against the famed French bureacracy in order to keep his licence free of penalties and have the fine overturned. He has written to the Rennes centre that issued the fine and penalty notification, sending them his hearing test, the invoice for the two hearing aids he has been wearing for six years, the related medical prescription, and photos of his devices both on and off his ears.
According to the daily regional newspaper that originally reported M. Moret's ordeal - Le Courrier Picard - by May 16 his claim against the fine issue had not received a specific reply, although the Aisne prefecture had informed him that his case would be studied.
Source: Courrier picard