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The three French regions set to get extra unmarked speed traps

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The three French regions set to get extra unmarked speed traps
The cameras will be in unmarked cars operated by private firms. Photo: AFP
14:31 CEST+02:00
Three regions of France are set to get an extra 60 unmarked cars with speed cameras inside after a successful trial in Normandy last year.

The first cars manned by private firms - rather than the French state - were put on the roads in Normandy in April 2018 for a pilot scheme.

Now the French government says that the scheme was a success and three other regions - Brittany, Pay de la Loire and Centre Val-de-Loire - will see the cars rolled out from January 2020.

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Fixed cameras have become major targets for vandals. Photo: AFP

A total of 60 cars - 19 in Brittany, 20 in Pays de la Loire and 21 in Centre-Val de Loire - will run six hours a day, seven days a week.

They will be unmarked and drivers will have no way of knowing when they have been caught by the speed camera.

The French government's website stated: "Radar cars will operate on routes and time slots set by the State services according to local accident criteria.

"They will have equipment capable of reading speed limit signs allowing the radar to operate independently, without any intervention from the vehicle driver.

"For speed measurements of moving vehicles, higher tolerance limits will be used."

If a driver is caught speeding, the speeding ticket will be processed by the centre national de traitement (CNT) based at Rennes, in exactly the same way as fines issued by police or fixed speed cameras.

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.
 
Bringing in private firms will mean there there is more possibility for the cars to be out on the roads for much longer.
 
And where two police (or regional police) officers are currently needed for the job, private firms will only need one person. 
 
It was originally planned that the roll-out of unmarked cars beyond Normandy would begin in 2019, but the scheme has now been delayed until the start of 2020.
 
The issue of speeding fines has become a contentious one in France after the government's new 80km/h limit on secondary roads emerged as one of the major grievances of the 'yellow vest' movement.
 
The protesters in rural areas saw the new limit as simply a way for the government to make money from them out of speeding tickets, and thousands of static speed cameras all over France were vandalised.
 
The government insisted that the limit was purely a safety measure, designed to cut the high number of deaths on the roads in France.
 
However, after months of pressure, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe earlier this month announced that he would devolve the issue to local governments, many of whom have already said they intend to scrap the 80km/h limit and go back to the old limit of 90 km/h.
 
 
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