Clarkson, Hammond Banned from Driving in France for Speeding while Shooting Xmas DVD

Both Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond are known for their appetite for speed, so it comes as no surprise that the Top Gear presenters were caught speeding in France.

It happened while the two television hosts were filming Top Gear’s latest Christmas DVD called “The Perfect Road Trip”. Not so perfect it seems, since Clarkson and Hammond were allegedly caught doing over 140 km/h (87 mph) in a 90 km/h (56 mph) area. Since the two were more than 50 km/h (31 mph) over the legal speed limit, they received an instant driving ban in France.

French police apprehended them after being flashed as they approached a tollbooth – Clarkson in an Aston Martin Vanquish, Hammond in a Porsche 911 GT3 – and issued them with the on-the-spot fine and a ban, effective immediately.

Clarkson and Hammond were obviously not delighted at all about the fine and about banned from driving. Here’s what Clarkson wrote about the incident in his column in The Sun newspaper:

“If you are going to break the speed limit, make sure you are not in France. You would be advised to pay attention to what happened next. Because the on-the-spot fine was everything we had in our wallets. We were left penniless. And they took away our driving licences. No court case. No arguing. Nothing.”

Well, at least Clarkson and Hammond got some free publicity for their new DVD, on sale from November 18. You can watch the trailer after the break.

By Dan Mihalascu


  • Sergei Levchenco

    finally,they always think they can do what they want.By the-way they became boooooooring


      I watched it yesterday, and actually it was good

      • Jakub

        yes, it’s really good, but still i am not sure if i wanna go in peugeot, or polo.. 😀

  • para

    I am beginning to like the French police…

  • Rokie

    Where is James??

    • Owen Hamilton

      Captain Slow is probably still catching them up, lol

  • smartacus

    French music videos are very good at glorifying incest

    • trollistand

      Go back to school, french is not your native langage.

  • Alvin

    This seems idiotic of french police. There should be a court for these things, you can not just ban someone from driving while they are driving, unless they were running from the police which I very much doubt. So I really want to know, if they are banned from driving in France, does the french police give them and their cars free transport to the boarder cause I fail to see how this is solved if it happened to other people in transit through France.

    • GasconCarbuff

      Quite frankly they’re lucky to have got off so lightly! – if they had been clocked going much faster the Gendarmes have the authority to impound their vehicles and, had their crime been considered serious enough, the courts have the right to SELL the confiscated vehicles (ask the local Subaru Impreza owner who repeatedly ignored the speed limits on Autoroutes near my home in S.W. France!).

      The French authorities have in recent years have adopted a very tough stance regarding speeding, particularly on major roads such as Autoroutes, and have since the 1960’/70s been increasingly frustrated by ‘tourists’ (particularly Germans, Brits and Scandinavians) who have blatantly flaunted the rules, but now with modern radar technology they are successfully cracking down on the type of driver Clarkson personifies. The French police take the driving licences and car keys from offending drivers at the roadside and the offenders have to make their own way to their destination – by taxi or by public transport or, God forbid, on foot : it’s the price you pay for thinking and acting as though you’re above the law! (I believe that unaccompanied females are treated a little more leniently). No the French Police don’t provide a free ride to the border.

      I’m amazed that Clarkson and Co. haven’t been booked many times before – it couldn’t have happened to a nicer pair.

      • Alvin

        Fail to see the point what France is doing. If the severity of the crime is severe enough, than they should have been sent to jail. This is just stranding motorists in highway without a car. If you get issued a driving ban in a certain country as a foreigner, YOU should be allowed to at least drive out of it, generally having a 24 hour period or so until driving ban comes into affect. I am not defending Clarkson, but the way they got dealt with is extremely bad. I live in Germany, and after reading this, I am not going to France any time soon.

        • Habitual Speeder

          You don’t need to see the point of French law; Just read the road signs and obey them, simple. In this day and age, no one is going to experience real abandonment on the French highway….due to mobile phones.

          The one thing any foreigner is aware of (in any part of the world), is you don’t know how the police operate in their sovereign land, so don’t attract unnecessary attention!

  • Six_Tymes

    cat wait to see this! go hammond

  • flossy

    Predictable outrage, because it’s absolutely fine to go to another country and break their laws. Great TV of course, but usual offensive zenophobic right-wing Clarkson.

  • Garrett Spicer

    BANNED from a country for speeding?
    Lol what a bunch of cocks.

    • Didou

      Banned from driving *, read the full story

  • Mark Brown

    Full movie is already on YouTube –

    • donald seymour

      Thank you. Now I have to wipe my screen off.

  • FromTheBackSeat

    This is the same in Ontario Canada. Mind you average traffic speed on a good day on the multi-lane highways is usually 130-140 kph (82-88mph). It’s under the guise of “racing” which is utter crap. Going fast isn’t the problem, it’s the lane-dodgers jumping across 3 lanes through a 30ft gap between cars that is dangerous.

    • This guy

      except in Ontario you get a trial to defend yourself. The Police are not allowed to declare you instantly guilty.

  • FromTheBackSeat

    I hope they mock France to no end in the next series over this. Perfect set-up for another race where on of them drives vs the other two taking alternate transport… could be the slowest and most boring way across France. James would drive while Hammond and Jeremy use silly and funny alternative non-driving ways across the country to Germany where all things fast reside.

  • oldthudman

    What a bunch of goobers!

  • Designland

    Speed limits are indicated very clearly for anybody, in France as in many other countries. They played and they lost. Rules are the rules !

  • Dee Stanley

    hmm, been busted here in the states for 150mph in a 45, cant imagine the fine in france for it. So I guess this is another reason to hate france, was planning on taking my wife their for our retirement vacation, I guess we’ll spend the money in another country. Maybe I’ll take her to Germany now. So this is proof that France is the crappy, hateful place between England and Germany. From what I heard the governments usually close off roads for the production crew but in France they will not issue permit filming on roads so they make you shoot films without blocking the roads off. This is a reminder to all of those in France who speed and a clear message (If you speed in france, prepare to run or shoot as many cops as you can) Its a shame, I have several friends who live in the french countryside, some who own restaurants, hotels and some who are policemen, its a shame that they needlessly put their officers in peril by forcing them to enforce their archaic laws.

    • Bouber

      Yeah, go speeding in Germany, and kill as many people as you want, but don’t put your tires in France. Selfish POS. And we hate you too.

  • TangoUrilla

    Yes everything is true, I believe it.

  • serfah

    good riddance, if only the UK would ban them, that would be wonderful!

  • Johan van Roekel

    The problem is imho not the severity of the punishment (they were going waaaaay over the limit), but the fact that is imposed immediately, which is especially harsh if you’re from abroad. You cannot simply call a relative to pick you up like you would in your own country. Clarkson has a point that he is unable to fight the allegation, or check the height of the fine (paying on the spot is a open invitation for corruption). Alvin is right, at least the execution of the driving ban should be delayed 24h. Even in car-hating Switzerland your driving ban is not instantaneous.

    • trollistand

      The problems were “you”, mainly tourists, and the lack of cooperation between law enforcements.

      Before over speeding only cost 90€ to foreigners and a lecture about how speed is baaaaaaaaaaaad.
      Now due to traffic in constant progress, trucks and tourists, french police choose to hit where it (easily) hurts.

    • Christophe Bignoli

      It’s like that in a lor of countries. In Belgium it’s worse and you get your licence taken away immediatly for 35 km/h above the speed limit.

      • iLikeCheese

        Which is why i (a dutchie) would rather go to Germany for fun than Belgium.

        Though you’re a madman if you even try going 35 above the limit in Belgium, the roads are the worst i’ve ever seen.

  • the french

    If the French do the stupidest things to the top gear, next series of top gear will be full of anti_french news and shows. Good luck french. Billions of ppl watching this show so hahaha

    • seb the froogie

      So what?
      We still are the most visited country on earth,no?
      And Clarckson is a poor arrogant french basher,un “connard ” of first class,when you are so ugly,you dig a hole and disappear,you don’t say US cars sucks and you don’t drive too fast in a foreign country,especially when this is mine…The French police fucked you well deeply,like they would have fucked me the same way…Sooooooo sad your famous name didn’t helped you….

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