Victory! You have just obtained the precious driver's license. You are now a "young driver". This probationary period, which runs as soon as the driving license is obtained, is set at 3 years (Article L223-1 of the Highway Code).
What does the A mean on a car?
The letter A on a car means "Apprentice". That is, the driver has obtained his driver's license for less than 3 years. Or 2 years if he has completed a period of accompanied driving beforehand.
This legal period is a probationary period during which the driver must stay below the authorized speed limits:
- 110 km/h maximum on motorway sections limited to 130 km/h.
- 100 km/h maximum on sections of motorway limited to 110 km/h or on two-carriageway roads separated by a central median.
- 80 km/h on other roads.
This probationary period also has an impact on the legal blood alcohol level while driving. While it is forbidden to drive with a level greater than or equal to 0.5 g/l of blood, or 0.25 mg/l of exhaled air, the young driver must not drive from 0.2 g/l of blood or 0.10 mg/l of exhaled air.
Finally, obtaining a driver's license is only credited with a capital of 6 points. Each year without infringement, the apprentice earns 2 additional points to reach his capital of 12 points (3 points per year in case of prior accompanied driving).
What is the A used for on a vehicle?
Disc A allows law enforcement to detect a speed limit violation.
It also has the advantage of warning other road users of the presence of a young driver so that they are more attentive and benevolent.
Good to know
In case of invalidation or cancellation of the driving licence, the person concerned must retake his driving test when the driving ban is more than 1 year, or if the driving licence was obtained less than 3 years ago. In this case, the driver is again subject to a probationary period and must affix his A disc to the vehicle. On the other hand, no need for an A for the driver who has followed a road safety awareness course in order to recover points.
Is it mandatory to put the A?
The answer to this question is Yes. For a young driver, affixing the A to the back of his car is mandatory (Article R413-5, paragraph II of the Highway Code).
This must be placed on the bodywork, neither on the rear window, nor on a light, nor on the plate, to the left of the registration plate. Not necessarily at the same level in height.
Attention, your disc A must be an approved copy, so bought commercially. This badge must measure 15 cm in diameter when placed on a car, and 10 cm for a motorcycle. You can't do it by hand on a piece of paper, even if you create a perfectly identical version.
What penalties are incurred by the young driver who does not put his A?
In the absence of his disc A, the learner driver incurs a 2nd class ticket, i.e. a fixed fine of 35 euros (Article R413-5, paragraph III of the Highway Code). The offender has 45 days to pay it.
This fine is reduced to 22 euros if the payment is made within 3 days in case of hand delivery by the enforcement officer, or within 15 days when the fine is received by post.
If the payment is made more than 45 days before the date of the notice of contravention, the fine is then increased to 45 euros.
Driving without an A on your vehicle does not result in any point deduction from the driver's license.
Good to know
The A disc is also mandatory for young motorcycle riders who have just obtained their A1 or A2 license. On the other hand, if the person obtains the A2 licence after 3 years of the B licence, the A is not mandatory.
How long should the young driver keep his A?
The probationary period during which a young driver must keep his A is set at 3 years (Article L223-1 of the Highway Code).
However, if the holder has followed the early learning to drive (Article L211-3 of the same Code), more commonly known as accompanied driving, then this probationary period is reduced to 2 years (Article L223-1 above). This early learning also allows you to take advantage of less exorbitant car insurance rates as a young driver.
Good to know
Anyone who has just obtained their driver's licence is considered a young driver, regardless of age, whether they are 18 or 65 years old.
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Can we leave the A on the car?
It is quite possible to leave the A on the car, even when you are not a young driver. There is no law providing for a penalty in this case.
The most common case arises when the A is in sticker format and the car is used by several family members (be careful, the young driver must be declared as a secondary driver with car insurance, otherwise he could be considered uninsured. Driving without insurance is punishable by a fine of 3,750 euros and a penalty of suspension or cancellation of the driving license).
Keeping the A at the rear of the vehicle does not imply that the driver must comply with the limitations imposed on the young driver. However, it is possible that this will lead to more frequent police checks if the officers believe that you have exceeded the limit allowed to apprentices (however, you will not be fined).
To put everyone in agreement, the A disk also exists in magnetic format which allows it to be put on and removed at will.
Remember about driving without the A
Driving without the A on your vehicle exposes you:
- A fixed fine of 35 euros.
- Or a reduced fine of 22 euros.
- Or an increased fine of 45 euros.
Disk A must:
- Be homologated.
- Be placed at the rear of the vehicle, on the left side.
The probationary period of the young driver:
- Lasts 3 years (or 2 years in case of early learning to drive).
- Involves specific speed limits.
- Implies a lower tolerated blood alcohol level than for other car drivers.