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14% more drivers caught speeding

Speed traps flash 14 million motorists in first eight months of year - with 100,000 in one day

SPEEDING fines increased by more than 14% in the first eight months of the year with nearly 14 million drivers being flashed by one of the 2,000 radars across the country.

The figures come as a shock after a year of intense debate over the withdrawal of warning signs before radar speed traps - and they show that too many drivers have stopped paying attention.

With each one picking up a minimum €45 fine and losing a point from their licence, that could mean a total of €700million in fines by the end of this year. Last year, speeding fines brought in €639m.

The Agence Nationale de Traitement Automatisé des Infractions (Antai) said the 14m drivers fined between January and August was a rise from the previous year's 12m - with more than 100,000 fines being sent out on one day alone, July 21, the start of the summer holidays.

Road safety campaigner Chantal Perrichon, of the Ligue Contre la Violence Routière, denounced the new figures, saying they "showed a real relaxation by drivers and it should be remembered that the main cause of deaths on the roads is speed".

However, she was contradicted by Pierre Chasseray of drivers' group 40 Millions d'Automobilistes who said alcohol was the "No1 cause of road deaths". He added that France had "reached saturation point with speed traps" and he said too many were just "piggy banks and had nothing to do with road safety".

Ms Perrichon said that the figures showed that the switch to the new-style speed camera warnings - which flash up a driver's speed - had failed to bring down speeding.

Road safety expert Prof Claude Got, however, told Libération the signs confused drivers who did not realise there was a real speed trap further down the road. He added that drivers were however more relaxed about speeding as the point taken from their licence was soon recuperated.

* The busiest speed traps were two on the A10 at Saint-Avertin and Janvry followed by the site at Bédarrides on the A7.

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