DRIVERS in France who use radar warning equipment will not be breaking the law, after the government announced a U-turn on a proposed ban.
Manufacturers have agreed to reprogram the devices so that they no longer point out the exact location of an upcoming speed trap. Instead, drivers will be warned of "dangerous zones" where they should reduce their speed.
A ban on radar warnings was one of the announcements made earlier this month as part of a series of government measures designed to crack down on speeding and cut road deaths.
Drivers who continued to use the warning devices faced a €1,500 fine and the loss of six licence points. Manufacturers and importers risked up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine.
The main manufacturers - including Coyote Systems, Wikango and Inforad - argued that it was illogical to ban equipment that is designed to help drivers by pointing out accident black spots.
Under the new deal, the government will co-operate with manufacturers and provide details of the speed limits on each stretch of road and real-time traffic information that will "allow drivers to adapt their speed depending on the limits and the circumstances". A formal agreement is due to be signed in the coming weeks.
The U-turn by interior minister Claude Guéant comes less than a week after the government announced it was changing its initial plan to take away roadside signs warning drivers of speed traps. The signs will now be replaced with interactive speed displays.
The president of road safety group La Ligue Contre la Violence Routière, Chantal Perrichon, said the lack of a clear message from the government was worrying. She said: "We're starting to get bogged down by confusing announcements."
Almost two-thirds of people are in favour of tougher sanctions for driving offences such as using mobile phones or drink-driving, but not speeding, according to a poll by France Soir and 20 Minutes published this morning.
The survey of 1,006 people was carried out last week, at the height of the debate on speed cameras.
Photo: Richard Villalon - Fotolia.com