A new French law sets the scene for recognising the health hazards of driving, and seeks to encourage people to reduce their overall mobility energy use. From March 1 the legislation will require that one of three statements be included in any car advertisements in France.
For short journeys, walk or cycle
Think about carpooling
Take public transport
Not including the disclaimer could cost carmakers a fine of up to €50,000, or almost $80,000 Australian dollars.
France has already announced a ban on the sale of all petrol and diesel-fueled vehicles by 2040, and its capital city Paris will bring that forward that deadline up to 2030, also proposing to ban cars from the city centre to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians.
Now, the minister for the ecological transition of France, Barbara Pompili is seeking an inclusive solution that doesn’t just encourage people to switch to electric cars, but rather focuses on reducing the energy required for transportation. Sustainable transport has many options – most much cheaper than buying an EV.
This new law puts the responsibility on car manufacturers to educate the public about cleaner and more efficient transportation alternatives. Just like the initiatives before with Tobacco and Alcohol, there will always be people who cannot give up their drug of choice. But this is a massive step in the right direction.
Action like this could go further though. Perhaps we could in the future see other warnings:
Driving a petrol or diesel car contributes to lung disease and early death
(replete with photo of a diseased lung)
Idling near schools harms your children
Undercover carparks are full of poison gas
Perhaps, one day, petrol will be sold more discretely, in unmarked containers, and consumed by cars in private.
David Waterworth is a researcher and writer, a retired school teacher who continues to provoke thought through his writing. He divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla.