Speed cameras are ‘undetectable’

The camera is fitted to the dashboard of the unmarked car – Screengrab: Le Parisien

Fleet of 300 unmarked cars will take to the roads over next three years to target high-speed drivers

AN ORDINARY-looking Renault Megane is the latest weapon against speeders on France’s roads – with a new-generation speed camera built into the dashboard and a detector radar behind the numberplate.

The car is the first of a fleet of 300 cars carrying the radars which are practically invisible and almost undetectable. They will start operations on March 15 in around 20 departments. Each is capable of detecting speeding vehicles and photographing them, without flash, while on the move at motorway speeds.

Although unmarked cars are used, the officers driving them will still be in uniform and for the initial period only drivers who overtake the unmarked car will be penalised.

The cars will also only target high-speed drivers, with senior Sécurité Routière official Aurélien Wattez saying they were aimed at motorists who ignored restrictions everywhere except where there were road-side cameras. They are set to catch drivers speeding at more than 10% above the road’s limit – above 143kph on the bulk of French autoroutes.

It is intended to bring in 300 equipped vehicles over the next three years in a bid to cut road deaths – with excess speed blamed for 26% of fatal road accidents in 2012, around 1,000 deaths.

Pierre Chasseray, of drivers’ group 40 Millions d'Automobilistes, said on Europe 1: “Obviously, if it is a weapon against idiot drivers then one cannot be against it; but if it is just a new way to trap drivers it will lead to real hostility against speed cameras.”

• The number of road deaths fell 8.8% in January, with 271 people dying in accidents, Sécurité Routière revealed.
Screengrab: Le Parisien

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