More than half of drivers are unaware of new motoring regulations introduced in France this year, a new study has revealed.

Research carried out by the RAC with almost 1,500 drivers found that 59 percent were completely unaware of any of the new French motoring laws.

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More than three-quarters (78 percent) had no idea that the speed limit on France’s secondary ‘D’ roads was reduced from 90 kph to 80 kph on July 1.

The move, which was intended to improve road safety, could see speeding motorists landed with a €750 (around £670) fine.

Skoda Kodiaq at Tour de France

Less than a quarter of drivers (23 percent) knew that using headphones or earphones while driving was illegal in France, while just 28 percent were aware that drivers must now switch off their engines in a designated parking space before using their mobile phone. Those found flouting this rule will face a €135 (£120) fine.

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said it was important that drivers planning foreign trips were careful to obey the new laws as fines can now “follow” British motorists back to the UK.

“France remains the most popular destination for British drivers, and some changes to driving regulations may come as a surprise to those that regularly cross the Channel by car,” he said.

Cars queue for the ferry to Calais

“The French have witnessed a big increase in the number of fatalities on their departmental ‘D’ road network in recent years, and while the decision to cut the speed limit on these roads has been fiercely opposed by some, the law is the law.

“British drivers that have been driving to France for many years on the same roads should pay particular attention to speed limit signs, especially as new rules now mean any traffic offences committed while away follow UK motorists home again – so there really is no escaping them.”