France’s government has decided to shrug off the ire many “yellow vest” protesters feel towards speed cameras and triple its fleet of high-tech radars tourelles, from the 400 planned for this year to 1,200 by the end of 2020.
The devices are capable of not only clocking your speed but also recording a variety of other misdemeanours, such as phoning while driving, sudden swerving, not respecting the safety distance between vehicles, jumping a red light, not wearing a seatbelt, or overtaking on the right, which is illegal in France.
Three quarters of France’s existing speed cameras have been vandalised since the start of the “yellow vest” protests last year, but these newest models are perched on four-metre tall posts and are said to be far harder to vandalise than existing ones.
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“The speed cameras are painted, hammered or wrapped in something but five to seven days after the damage report has been filed they get fixed,” Emmanuel Barbe, France’s Interdepartmental delegate for Road Safety, told Le Parisien.
“For every speed camera that’s damaged beyond repair we replace it with a newer turret speed camera.
“So far we have installed 150 to 200 of these new models. Our goal is to install 400 to 450 by the end of 2019 and 1,200 by the end of 2020. “
Asked what percentage of speed cameras were currently out of order after being vandalised, Barbe said he’d rather not answer the question so as to not encourage criminal practises.
The cameras, whose brand name is the Mesta Fusion 2 and which can monitor eight lanes of traffic and several vehicles at once, will reportedly only be used initially to catch people speeding.
There will however be four decoy cameras for each operating one, and the decoys and the real ones will be switched regularly to prevent drivers figuring out which are the ones catching them breaking the law.