Before now, it was possible to pay fines online, but drivers who wanted to appeal had to send a letter by post to the headquarters of the Agence Nationale de Traitement Automatisé des Infractions (ANTAI) in Rennes.
This was a lengthy process – and meant that people who had not committed an offence ended up paying for postage and administration costs.
But from this week onwards, motorists can contest fines simply by going onto the agency’s website within 45 days of being issued the fine. There is even an English language option.
After launching on Monday evening, the site crashed temporarily on Tuesday, but it is hoped it will make the appeal process easier for drivers. It applies to all fines for offences detected by speed cameras, including speeding and running a red light.
“It is important that customers who aren’t responsible for an offence can contest it quickly, simply and freely in order to assert their rights,” ANTAI said, according to Le Figaro.
All drivers have to do is submit the number and date of the penalty notice, their surname and the vehicle’s registration number, and then select the reason for their appeal, for example if they have scrapped or sold the vehicle in question or if they were not the person driving it at the time. Drivers can upload copies of documents to support their appeal.
Of the 12.5 million fines issued by speed cameras in 2014, 2.6 million were appealed – almost 21 percent. In the majority of cases, the reason for appeal was that someone else was behind the wheel when the offence was committed.