One of the many rules of la route in France forces drivers to do what it actually says on the “STOP” signs and come to a complete halt, even if there are no other cars around.
However many drivers fail to follow the simple instruction, which has prompted authorities to install the country’s first ever traffic camera at a stop sign.
It is currently being tested at a notorious unction in the town of Yerres in the department of Essonne to the south of Paris.
The camera, like the ones that are placed at traffic lights, includes an automatic registration plate recognition system that will identify those vehicles which don’t come to a stop at the sign.
Fines of €135 are then dished out by police, looking on from their control room, and four points are deducted from the driver’s license.
According to reports in France, authorities in the city of Marseille are considering installing the cameras at pedestrian crossings to snare drivers who fail to give priority to pedestrians.
In France drivers are legally obliged to stop at pedestrian crossings if someone has stepped out onto the road or if they manifest their intention to cross the road, by waiting or looking at the oncoming traffic.
However it is up to the drivers to decide and in reality, many drivers simply carry on and only give way if they absolutely have to.
The confusion around (or simple lack of respect for the law) brings with it dangers.
In 2012 there were 1,893 people injured on pedestrian crossings in Paris including 18 deaths.
Stop signs: A French urban legend says you must halt for three seconds at a stop sign isn't quite true.
There is nothing in the law that identifies a specific duration. That said, the rules state you have to stop long enough to be sure it’s safe to proceed, so give it a couple seconds just in case.
Otherwise you could be the latest Anglo to complain about overzealous French cops eager to take €135 off you.