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1. ► ►SPEED CAMERAS IN FRANCE 2015 . Things have changed.....
There are now in France over 150 unmarked police vehicles equipped with onboard speed cameras. Most of these - but not all nor always - patrol on motorways, or other trunk routes, but they are now operating throughout France, on minor roads too. Since recording speed from a moving vehicle is not quite a perfect art, there is a slight tolerance; but vehicles clocked at over 140 Km/h in a 130 stretch of motorway are liable to get pulled a ticket and may be pulled over for an on-the-spot fine.
In the first fifteen months after their introduction in 2013, these mobile speed cameras issued 270,000 speeding tickets... and there were less than 100 cars during most of those months.
Most of the cameras are on board unmarked Renault Mégane, Citroën Berlingo or Peugeot 208 police cars, so they are not easy to detect - apart from the fact that the cars tend to be very clean, specially the windows. However, drivers are unlikely to notice one until it's too late, if they notice them at all. Thanks to new technology, these new speed camera cars can even flash vehicles going in the opposite direction . So be warned! Observe speed limits, and you won't have any problems !
Since April 2013, carrying a brethalyzer with you in the car has been obligatory in France... by law - at least in theory. BUT this is a wonderful law that you are free to observe or not observe, as there is no penalty for drivers caught without a brethalyzer in their car.
Single-use certified breathalyzers are now available in many supermarkets, chemists and garages throughout France, at a cost of about 1 €uro each. So the cost is minimal.
Contrary to information posted on some sites, the new law (Decree no 2012-284) does not oblige drivers to self-test after having a drink. But those who plan to self-test to be on the safe side should have at least two breathalyzers in the car, if not more.
To conclude - breathalyzer or not - don't drink and drive. And remember that the tolerated blood alcohol level in France is 0.5 mg. per ml - just over half the limit tolerated in the UK (0.8 mg per ml).
3. ► ► PHONING AT THE WHEEL BEWARE.... Drivers caught using a mobile phone while on the road in France are liable to an on-the-spot fine of 130 Euros – and 3 penalty points if they have a French driving licence.
4. ► ► STRANGE GANTRIES SPANNING MAIN ROADS In recent months, hundreds of strange gantries have been erected over French roads. Contrary to popular belief, they are not average speed cameras, but HGV eco-tax cameras. All HGVs, including foreign ones, were supposed to be liable to this new carbon tax, also being introduced in other European countries. The start date for the Ecotax system was first scheduled for July 2013, then 1st Jan. 2014: then it was postponed again to placate protesting Breton lorry-drivers. A new revised and slimmed down version of the system was scheduled for January 2015, but in the end the whole project was scrapped. Final score: truck-drivers' lobby: 1 French government: nil.
BEWARE.... RADAR WARNING DEVICES These have been banned in France since late 2011. Drivers using radar detectors (speed camera detectors) are liable for a fine of 1500 Euros and 6 points off their licence. This applies to specific radar warning devices, such as the Coyote, which must have their software updated to remain legal.
With regard to TomToms and other GPS systems, which have speed camera locations programmed in to their software, the situation is confusing. These are not officially "radar detectors", but manufacturers are obliged to make new software available, and most have done so. Tomtoms and other GPS systems are technically in breach of the law if they still have radars listed in their Points of Interest software; and even if it is not clear how roadside police can stop and check for offending software, rather than hardware, drivers are warned to err on the side of precaution and download the latest map software for France. This is advisable anyway, since older software is not up to date with regard to new routes, new speed restrictions, and other changes.
For both existing radar warning devices and GPS devices, current radar information is being replaced with warnings to announce "danger zones", many of which will be areas with speed cameras.