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France: The Real Threat For Speeders

24
October
2013
  Posted at 08:00:00 AM
  File under  France Opinion
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
click to see where France is on the map

So far in France, the government has been clamping down on speeders very hard. From some 15 years ago when it was pretty much accepted that people would go faster than the speed limit to the current massive campaigns to slow people down. Some say that the anti-speed campaigns are working since the number of road deaths has decreased, while others say that the number of road deaths is decreasing because car manufacturers have been making better and safer cars.

The successive French governments (left and right wing) have been saying that the new speed radars are not repressive, nor tax collectors, but are there for educational purposes. And to a slight degree they are, since the government, under pressure by the road users associations and lobby groups, have placed warning signs before an upcoming fixed radar. Still, thousands and thousands of car and motorcycle riders get caught each year (link Open link in a new window).

But now the French government has started using another weapon, and this one is very bad. The weapon is an unmarked police car. So far, nothing out of the ordinary, but these unmarked police cars are unmarked radar cars. They have on board a very sophisticated radar which not only will catch you speeding on the road, but will also catch you when you are on the opposite side of the road, in other words, coming up to the police car.

French Unmarked Radar Car
Hidden radar behind license plate

There are no noticeable signs that there is a radar on board. No bulges, no black boxes in the front, no equipment on the dash. The antennas and radars are hidden behind the front license plate and the computers and screens are below the dash, so invisible to the eye. The only telltale sign are the two people in the car, and probably wearing a uniform (but no hats). But when you see they are wearing a uniform, it's too late.

The 300 cars that will be driving down the mostly secondary roads in France will be put into service between now and the end of 2015. Currently there are 13 of them, and expanding every month. It is reckoned that these unmarked cars will ticket twice as many speeders as the fixed radars.

There are two things that get me annoyed, if not angry. First of all, this is repression. There is no warning. Not that I applaud speeding, but it is so easy to go over the limit for a few seconds. Imagine having to pass a car. You accelerate your motorcycle, pass with 10 kph faster and then slow down again. But that is enough to get a speeding ticket, as it has happened to me several times.

Secondly, crime is on the increase here in France, particularly in the rural areas, and the police force is decreasing. Where I live in the country, at night and weekend, the closest police station is 70 kilometer away, while during weekdays it is 5 kilometers. There are now less and less cops to deal with crime, and now they are putting more and more cops in money generating roles and away from fighting crime. Cops have become tax collectors. No wonder they are protesting.

Via: Le Parisien



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