Unmarked speed cars in three more French regions

French speed radar warning sign

Government unveils plan to extend use of private radar cars following trial in Normandy

Unmarked cars equipped with hidden speed cameras are to be rolled out in three more regions of France from January 2020, the government has announced.

A total of 60 vehicles will be deployed in Brittany, Centre-Val de Loire and Pays de la Loire in the new year after the government deemed a year-long trial in Normandy a success.

Cars, which are operated by private companies, became operational in Normandy in April 2018. They recorded more than 12,000 speed violations in a year.

Plans for the vehicles were unveiled in February 2017. At the time, it was said they were intended to free up police and gendarmes. Drivers’ groups say that the extra fines revenue could be worth €2.2billion.

A call for tenders to allow private companies to take over the market is expected to be published soon. Each region will be operated by a different company, which will be expected to cover 200,000 kilometres of roads in each region every month. 

The private unmarked speed cars operate a least six hours a day, compared to the average of 1hr 15mins for police-driven vehicles. Officials deny motorists' associations claims that the increase in hours is intended solely to drive up revenue for the State.

Authorities have previously said that the speed control unit, camera and software in the privatised vehicles is automated and the driver will not be able to affect its operation. Nor are companies paid by the number of tickets that are issued.

Excess speed is a contributing factor to 26% of road traffic collisions in France, according to government figures.

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