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French speed cameras trap 4.5m foreign drivers

The Local · 17 Jul 2015, 17:55

Published: 17 Jul 2015 17:55 GMT+02:00

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Foreign drivers are contributing a fair few euros to fill French coffers.

Figures obtained by The Local on Friday show just how prolific French speed cameras, or radars as they are called in France, are at catching foreign drivers who speed or drive through a red light.

The government organisation Securité Routiere (Road Safety) released data revealing that 3.5 million foreign cars were flashed by speed cameras in 2014.

But the organisation said the overall figure is more likely to be 4.5 million given that a quarter of the offences are not recorded because registrations plates are not clearly identified - although it is clear they are from abroad.

That figure represents around 21 percent of the 21 million offences caught on camera on French roads throughout the year.

When it came to the most flashed offenders, the Belgians took the top spot, having been caught speeding or going through red lights a whopping 420,000 times. (See full table below).

Next came the Spanish who clocked up 412,000 offences, while Germans committed 411,000 and the Italians 400,000, which were all caught on camera.

As for the Brits, drivers were snared 165,000 times throughout the year, but unlike the Germans, Spanish and Belgians, the British don’t have to pay up, or at least for the moment.

A European directive dating back to 2011 allows certain EU member states to share information on drivers caught committing offences on the roads, which will be rolled out on a staggered basis.

However Denmark, the UK and Ireland opted out of signing up to the agreement.

SEE ALSO: Revealed  - The most prolific speed cameras in France

As for the Irish, they rang up a total of 7,000 flashes by French speed cameras. At the bottom end of the scale are the Finnish, who were only caught on camera 500 times, but given the distance from Finland to France, it’s surprising they bothered driving here at all.

The figures don’t however include the number of foreign drivers who were given on the spot fines by French police after being caught red handed.

Story continues below…

Speed cameras have proved to be a nice little money earner for French authorities over the years although a report published last year suggested takings were slipping.

French newspaper Les Echos reported that the 4,150 speed cameras that litter the country's roads yielded €579 million in 2013.

While that sounds a healthy amount to be taking out of the pockets of speeding motorists, it was less than in 2012, when rogue drivers boosted state coffers to the tune of €620 million.

It marked the first time in ten years that the takings from speed cameras have decreased.

The reason takings went down was put down to fines not being paid and cameras being out of action rather than motorists slowing down and observing the speed limits. 

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