The complete low down on France’s new secret speeding police.
Channel dashes and Le Mans surprising omissions.
With dash mounted cameras and radar devices behind their number plates, a fleet of otherwise unassuming family saloons will take to French roads this month. They will be on a mission to prevent ‘excess’ speeding.
From March 15, a batch of twenty unmarked Renault Meganes – manned by two uniformed police – will patrol eighteen of the 96 Departments around the country.
A prominent transport lawyer denounced the high profile move as, ‘giving the false impression that speeds will be monitored all the time and everywhere.’
Because of the positioning of the radar detector, the police will only be able to detect speeding cars in front. From the summer that will also include cars in oncoming lanes.
Police say the move is aimed at drivers going excessively fast. There will still be a decent margin for error. Prosecutions are unlikely below 143kph (89mph). Remember, that’s a real 89mph, not 89mph as indicated on your speedo…
Our forensic analysis (below) is a good geography lesson and reveals at least two surprising gaps – Nord Pas de Calais, i.e. the last stretch to the ferry/ tunnel, and the A28 to Le Mans.
But this first batch of twenty cars will be joined by another 80 vehicles this year, and another two hundred in the next three years. Expect any gaps to be temporary.
The authorities say these mobile cameras save money over the traditional fixed type. Overall, police say speed cameras have reduced road deaths in France from 8,000 in 2002 to 3,645 in 2012.
Conclusion: if you spot a Megane with two burly figures in the front seats slow down. It isn’t too late until you go past.
According to The Connexion, unmarked police cars will patrol the following Departments:
Nord (Dunkirk-Lille) and Somme (Amiens).
Île de France (Paris) and Oise (north of Paris); Essonne (south of Paris); Loir et Cher and Loiret (around Orleans).
Calvados (Caen); Loire Atlantique (Nantes) and Ille et Vilaine (Rennes).
Gironde (Bordeaux); Haute Garonne (Toulouse) and Pyrénées-Orientales (Perpignan).
Alpes-Maritime (Nice); Bouches du Rhône (Marseilles/ Aix) and Vaucluse (Avignon).
Rhônes (Lyon) and Moselle (Metz).