• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

France unveils secret weapon against speeding

Ben McPartland · 28 Feb 2013, 09:17

Published: 28 Feb 2013 09:17 GMT+01:00

A new generation of mobile speed cameras are to be installed in unmarked police cars as the government steps up its fight against speeding drivers.

Unlike fixed roadside speed cameras, the new mobile cameras will be practically invisible to motorists and virtually undetectable on any GPS device or smart phone application.

And motorists are unlikely to know they have even been caught as the cameras can photograph a vehicle without the need to flash.

The cameras will be fixed on the dashboard with a radar hidden behind the number plate.

Pierre Chasseray, head of French drivers organisation 40 millions d'automobilistes told The Local he was concerned the new device would be used to "trap" ordinary road users.

"If these devices are used to trap the real speeding drivers, the criminals and the real dangerous drivers then that will be a good thing," Chasseray said. "If they are used to trap ordinary drivers ,who might be slightly over the limit then that will be counter productive in terms of road safety."

According to French police speed cameras or radars have helped cut average speeds in France by 10kph since 2003. 

“This represents a drop of around 45 to 50 percent in the number of deaths caused by speeding,” said Aurélien Wattez, head of the police’s road safety department.  But certain people have not adjusted their speeds as much as most road users and it’s those people that we are targeting with these new cameras.

In 2012 speeding was given as the cause of around 1000 deaths on French roads, around 26 percent of the overall number of fatalities.

“There are a minority of people who only respect the limitations where there are fixed speed cameras. This system is there to remind them that they have to respect the speed limits everywhere,” Wattez said.

Although the cameras will be in unmarked cars officers will have to wear their police uniforms, which might be the only signal that could give away their presence on the motorway. Drivers rushing down to the south of France this summer should also be careful who they overtake as for the first few months police will only penalize cars who pass their own vehicle at top speed.

Story continues below…

The new cameras will be rolled out in twenty departments across the country on March 15th and will only be used to catch those who break the speed limit by a big margin.

The devices are designed to be able to take accurate photos from inside moving vehicles and will gradually replace the older generation of radars, first deployed in 2004.

Any speeds registered by the cameras will be reduced because of a 10 percent margin of error so anyone driving on a French autoroute, where the limit is 130kph, will have to be driving at 146kph to be snared by the new radars.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French wine output drops 10 percent after stormy weather
A vineyard in Valfaunes partially destroyed after a violent hailstorm near the southern city of Montpellier. Photo: AFP

Bad weather has pushed wine production in France down ten percent this year.

Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
The burqini ban in 30 French towns has provoked debate worldwide. Photo: AFP

Almost two thirds of French people said they're against the controversial swimwear.

Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Photo: Thomas Heylen/Flickr

A few things you need to know about interning in France.

Police arrest Lyon man who 'talked of attack plans'
French soldiers patrolling the Part-Dieu train station last year. Photo: AFP

The man had talked about plans to attack a busy district in central Lyon.

France swelters as heatwave pushes on
Photo: AFP

Thursday will be scorching hot again as most of France remains on heatwave alert.

France's burqini ban goes before country's top court
A woman models the burqini swimsuit. Photo: AFP

France's highest administrative court will on Thursday examine a request to scrap a ban on the Islamic burqini swimsuit.

14,000 pregnant women in France took 'birth defect drug'
Dépakine has been linked to an increased risk of various congenital defects. File photo: AFP

Health authorities have been criticized for their slow reaction to warnings that Dépakine can be dangerous during pregnancy.

How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Photo: AFP

Almost all of France is on a heatwave alert. Here's how to keep cool.

Heatwave warnings extended yet again as France bakes
Photo: AFP

The national weather agency has issued orange alerts to a further 23 départements.

Paris warned about high level of ozone pollution
Photo: AFP

Free parking on Thursday to fight the high pollution levels.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
2,741
jobs available