France set to take one billion euro jackpot in traffic fines

Fines for speeding and other traffic offences are set to bring a record one billion euros into French state coffers next year, but ever stricter driving rules are still failing to reduce road deaths.

France set to take one billion euro jackpot in traffic fines
Photo: AFP
Figures from the draft state budget for next year show that traffic fines are projected to be around €928 million, a 10 percent increase on 2017. 
When extra fines for late payment are added in, that will bring takings to over one billion euros for the first time, Les Echos financial daily reported
The attempted crackdown on speeding and other offences was part of the government’s bid to reduce the number of people who die every year on France’s roads. Thirty-two percent of deadly accidents are caused by speeding in France.
Tougher rules were brought in in 2012 by the then Socialist government, with the then interior minister Manuel Valls saying he wanted the death toll to be brought below 2,000 people a year by 2020.
But that plan is starting to appear as over-optimistic, given that road deaths have been on the rise for the last three years.
Last year 3,477 people were killed in road accidents, according to figures from Sécurité Routière, the national road safety authority.
President Emmanuel Macron last month announced new road safety measures, including banning hands-free phone kits in cars, lowering the already very low alcohol limit for young drivers, and trying out saliva tests to detect drug use.
The government also plans to extend the use of private companies to run speed cameras after an initial test that was carried out in the Normandy region. 


Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.