Drivers in France beware: Private firms to take over fight against speedsters

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 20 Feb, 2017 Updated Mon 20 Feb 2017 10:55 CEST
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Police are to enlist the help of private companies who will be far more dedicated to the cause of cracking down on speeding drivers.


French authorities are under pressure to cut speed-related deaths - and plan to roll out more and more speed traps.
But don't expect to see more police cars parked by the roadside. 
No, authorities are going to team up with private firms from September, as reported previously by The Local following a trial run in northern Normandy. 
And these firms will be much more eager to catching speeding drivers than the police were.
So what actually changes?
Currently, French police have mobile speed cameras concealed in 383 unmarked cars, which are responsible for snaring around 1.5 million cars a year. 
But a lack of resources means the police cars with mobile cameras are only in use for an average of one hour a day.

The plan is to see the number of cars with installed radars increase to 450 by next year, the paper reported. 

Bringing in private firms will mean there there is more possibility for the cars to be out on the roads for much longer, and it's estimated that they will be on the roads for around eight hours at a time on average.
The private firms will only be allowed on roads that are pre-determined by police, and won't have access to information about which vehicles have been caught speeding. 
The new cameras will be looking out for anyone going 10km/hr above the speed limit in zones where the speed limit is under 100km/hr, and will snare people going ten percent above the speed limit in zones where the limit is above 100km/hr. 
Police won't be involved in the camera work at all from September. And where two police (or regional police) officers are currently needed for the job, private firms will only need one person. 
Motorists' groups in France have said the plan could see a tenfold increase in speeding tickets. 
The group 40 Million Motorists were behind a poll carried out last month that showed that 78 percent of French people were against the privatized radars, with 80 percent saying they thought such matters should be strictly police work. 
They argue that additional speeding tickets does nothing to increase road safety and will just be a money making exercise at the great expense of drivers.
The government's road safety tsar Emmanuel Barbe has insisted in the past that while private companies would run the mobile cameras, the analysis and handling of all contraventions will be handled by police.
The government is under pressure to cut down on road deaths, and announced last year thousands of fake speed cameras would be installed to try and deter motorists.
France saw 3,469 people killed from road accidents in 2016, an increase of 0.2 percent from the previous year, which authorities put down to “risky behaviour”.



The Local 2017/02/20 10:55

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