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French man discovers his driving licence was invalid for 32 years

An admin error in the late 1980s meant that the man from the south-west was driving illegally for over three decades

A French driving licence and car key

A man from Gers discovered he had not had a valid driving licence for over 30 years Pic: aurelie le moigne / Shutterstock

A French man living in Gers (Occitanie) recently discovered that he had been driving without a valid permit for 32 years following an administrative error. 

Daniel Pesquidoux, who is now retired, is now seeking compensation for the mistake that left him driving illegally for over three decades. 

The problem began in the late 1980s. Mr Pesquidoux was caught excessively speeding – he was going 133km/h in a 80km/h zone – and so he lost all the points on his licence and it was revoked.

Some time after that, he was able to get his licence back, but his points were never restored - unbeknownst to him. 

It meant he had a paper driving licence but still had zero points, meaning he should not have been driving. 

He did not find out about this until in 2020 he was flashed for speeding again, this time only slightly over the limit. He assumed that he would lose one point on his licence for this and so did not think much of it. Around six months later he decided to check that the point had been restored to his licence, in line with the law. 

However, he was left stunned after finding out that he had zero points on his licence. 

He phoned the gendarmerie in Marciac to find out what was going on. 

“They told me that I didn't have a licence, that I shouldn't drive anymore, even though I had my paper licence. They called the prefecture and they did some research. My licence had been cancelled in 1989, I had been driving without a licence for thirty-two years,” he told  La Dépêche. 

The situation has now been resolved and Mr Pesquidoux finally has a full complement of points on his licence. He said that he will now seek compensation because not having a licence could have had serious consequences. The procedure could take two more years. 

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