France to triple its arsenal of ‘super speed cameras’ by 2020

Up to 1,2000 “speed cameras of the future” will be installed on roads across France by the end of next year, three times the initial amount projected. The hi-tech spy cameras do much more than clock drivers’ speed.

France to triple its arsenal of 'super speed cameras' by 2020
Photo: AFP

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.


“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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Why are half of France’s speed cameras out of action?

Half of France's speed cameras aren’t working and the reason is a familiar one.

Why are half of France's speed cameras out of action?
A car drives past a speed camera trashed with a placard reading "Macron, you spoil our lives, the Yellow vests will spoil your quinquennium", in Ajaccio (Corsica). Photos: AFP

Around half of France’s fixed speed trap cameras are currently out of order. 

The reason for this sudden yet widespread disrepair is – if you hadn’t guessed it already – the nationwide acts of vandalism against public property carried out by the most radical anti-government protesters in recent weeks.

Of the 3,275 fixed speed cams in France, 250 have been damaged beyond repair and an additional 1,500 have been vandalized to the point where they no longer work.

The means of destruction range from covering les radars in paint to wrapping them in Clingfilm or in rubbish bags to prevent the camera from working.

France’s Road Safety association had decided to keep the news under wraps to prevent the vandalistic trend from spreading, but that seems to have happened regardless.

Although there isn’t a figure yet for what the damage amounts to, the public entity told Europe 1 the bill is of “millions of euros.”

READ ALSO: French state coffers boosted by record €1 billion bonanza from speed cameras

There is no way of knowing at present if it’s gilets jaunes protesters who are responsible for the speed cam vandalism or professional casseurs (as hooligans who destroy public property are known in France) who are taking advantage of France’s current situation to act with impunity.

Toll booths have however been severely damaged by “yellow vest” protesters who blockaded traffic with burning barricades.

Vandalising a speed camera is considered a crime in France which can see culprits handed anything from a seven year prison sentence to a €100,000 fine.