France: ruthless efficiency – Audi Do

Politicians and papers proclaim the effectiveness of France’s speed cameras despite a surely lamentable strike rate. Audi launches its 2014 sports car racer with a gentle drive through Le Mans. Eurotunnel carries a landmark truck, new road signs in Hamburg to improve safety and tackle congestion plus record Gibraltar queue misery.

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FRANCE RADAR CARS. RUTHLESSLY EFFICIENT?!

A sixty percent strike rate claimed as a success.

An employee of Securite Routiere demonstrates how the unmarked camera cars have radar devices hidden behind their number plates.

An employee of road safety agency Securite Routiere demonstrates how radar devices are hidden behind the number plates of unmarked police cars. Screen grab from lefigaro.fr

Even after being caught, drivers in France have a forty percent chance of getting away with speeding offences.

Figures released today say that out of the 300,000 drivers flashed by the unmarked mobile camera cars, introduced last March, only 180,000 – 60% – were prosecuted.

(For some reason however, the French press today praised the cameras’ ‘redoutable efficacité’ (ruthless efficiency). And claimed a strike rate of 66%, adding it was a better conversion rate than traditional fixed cameras. Go figure.)

Around 70,000 of those caught were in Paris or the Ile de France capital region with nearly 20,000 in Moselle, north east France, and another 15,000 in Bouches du Rhone in the south east.

The 120,000 caught but not prosecuted reportedly had ‘barely legible’ registration plates.

The French police currently have a fleet of over 100 unmarked Renault Meganes and Peugeot 208s equipped with radar cameras. With a new batch of Citroen Berlingos coming on stream in June they hope to have 200 in total by the end of this year and another 100 in 2015.

The cars have cameras hidden in behind the front and rear number plates to scan drivers in opposite lanes on main roads, as well as on motorways.

British, Irish and Danish speeders should not fear penalty notices falling through their letterboxes after returning home. As previously, they have to be caught in the act to be prosecuted.

It’s been a bad week for French speed cameras. On Monday it was revealed ‘dozens’ of penalty notices had been sent to the Belgian king because the cameras could not distinguish between the royal number plate – 1 – and those on regular cars, which mostly now start with a 1.

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time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen gave the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro its first public outing yesterday. The diesel hybrid drove 10km from the Saint-Julien du Mans cathedral in the city center to the famous race track. R18 will be driven in anger for the first time on 28-29 March at test at Paul Ricard, South of France, ahead of its race debut at Silverstone on 20 April, round one of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Le Mans itself takes place 14-15 June.

Nine time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen gave the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro its first public outing yesterday. The diesel hybrid drove 10km from the Saint-Julien du Mans cathedral in the city center to the famous race track. R18 will be driven in anger for the first time on 28-29 March at test at Paul Ricard, South of France, ahead of its race debut at Silverstone on 20 April, round one of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Le Mans itself takes place 14-15 June.

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EUROTUNNEL. The 20 millionth truck to use the ‘world’s leading rolling motorway’ since it opened on 25 July 1994 crossed from France yesterday. The truck belongs to Emons Cargo, a non-stackable freight specialist from Milsbeek, east Netherlands, which has distinctive ‘2WIN’ branding. GERMANY. 642 new signs placed at eye level every 500m along major roads in the Hamburg region – detailing the road name, direction, and the distance from the road source – will improve safety and congestion by making it easier for drivers to give their location after accidents and mishaps say the authorities. Rolling out this year. If successful could spread to other major roads in Germany. Similar to a project on-going in Russia. GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH: three hours, the longest delay this year, and just for cars – pedestrians and bikes cross the frontier without queuing.

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