French police have fined a woman for driving a car whilst wearing a full-face veil covering. The veil was considered a safety issue as it reduced the driver's field of vision.
Police in France have fined a Muslim woman for driving whilst wearing a full-face veil. In addition to contravening the controversial'burqa ban' which was introduced into law on April 11, the female driver was considered a danger due to impeded vision caused by her niqab.
The Local reported that the woman was stopped whilst driving in the coastal town of Saint-Brieuc, Brittany. Police spokesman Laurent Dufour explained that the driver "seemed hesitant in her driving" and police then realized she was veiled. Dufour said "This is an issue of skill, safety and visibility," comparing the niqab to other distractions whilst driving such as eating a sandwich or smoking.
The woman was only fined €35, much lower than the advertised penalty rate of €150 which was announced when the burqa ban was introduced. Although women may wear the full-face veil if travelling as a passanger in a private car, "police may stop them if they think they do not have a clear 'field of vision' while driving" theGuardianreported when the law was first implemented.
Prior to the law being introduced in France, a woman who was fined for driving in a burqa threatened to sue the police, claiming it was “discrimination, pure and simple." (LES) However the same safety argument was used in that instance by police who said that the narrow eye slit reduced the driver's field of vision.