In the context of a car rental, the question of liability when a traffic offence occurs is systematically raised. Therefore, we will focus mainly on this subject in what follows, i.e. on what really happens when a traffic offence is committed by a driver at the wheel of a rental car.
In the case of a traffic violation, it is the lessor who receives the notice of violation
As in the case of a company car, a car rental company is fully entitled to act against offenders. Therefore, it requires the renter to return a copy of his driving licence beforehand. Of course, this will be systematically archived with the rental contract before the keys of the vehicle are handed over. By doing so, the rental company just wants to make sure that the driver himself is the holder of the pink sesame allowing him to legally survey the roads at the wheel of the rented vehicle. This copy of the driver’s license will also allow the rental company to record the identity of the driver so that it can act effectively in the event of a traffic violation.
Therefore, following an offence involving the rented vehicle, the rental sign will receive a ticket that corresponds to the vehicle it owns. Afterwards, the lessor is responsible for returning to the French Administration a copy of the contract to which the identity of the lessee is attached in order to free himself from any responsibility, but also to protect himself from possible administrative sanctions.
The lessee shall be held financially liable in the event of a breach of the Highway Code
Once the copy of the rental agreement is received by the French Administration, the tenant in turn receives a notice of infraction, but this time in his or her name. However, it should be pointed out that although an additional driver is registered on the contract, it is the main driver, i.e. the actual offender, who will systematically receive the fine as well as any additional penalties such as administrative or judicial suspension of a licence, obligation to attend a road safety awareness course, etc.
The principal driver may contest
The principal driver is fully entitled to contest the infringement, if he or she is not the perpetrator. To do so, the main driver only has to fill in a request for exemption from a traffic offence together with all the information concerning the additional driver responsible for the offence (as stated in the rental contract) and send it by registered mail to the competent authorities. In this case, the ticket will be returned to the offender for the payment of the fine and the possible withdrawal of points.