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French cops struggle to catch speeding Brit

Joshua Melvin · 29 Sep 2014, 17:42

Published: 29 Sep 2014 17:42 GMT+02:00

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After French motorcycle cops saw a red Mercedes zip past at 219 km/h it took them 10 high-speed kilometres before they caught up to the British driver and pulled him over on Sunday.

The driver, who wasn’t named, didn’t try to argue with officers who stopped him on the A26 motorway that leads to Calais and the ferry back to the United Kingdom, French daily La Voix du Nord reported.

And the motorist reportedly told officers he was 89 km over the 130 km/h speed limit because he “wasn’t paying attention," which did little to draw mercy from the police.

The officers immediately confiscated his license and collected a €750 fine, which if unpaid would have meant the impounding of the man's car.

This gentleman wasn't the first Anglo driver to fall foul of French speed laws, in fact British motorists have a reputation for turning into speed demons once they cross the Channel.

While some would say that’s undeserved, there is one good reason why it could be the case.

The United Kingdom is among a few European countries that has refused to comply with an EU policy which ensures foreign drivers are punished for speeding. It is one of the reasons British drivers must pay fines on the spot if pulled over for going too fast.

The Local reported on a particularly egregious example in June 2013 when a British man on a French road was going so fast - over 250 km/h - that the speed camera was unable to capture his exact speed.

The vehicle was impounded on orders from the local prosecutor, his driver’s license was confiscated and he was immediately banned from driving on all French roads.

However, it’s not just Brits burning up and down French motorways.

According to figures reported in the French press in 2013, almost a quarter of all motorists flashed by France’s legion of speed cameras are from abroad.

In summer, when tourists flock to enjoy France’s beaches, mountains and rural getaways it gets even worse, with foreign drivers responsible for around 50 percent of infringements.

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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