Private French speed camera cars checked 6,650,000 vehicles and caught over 500,000 travelling above the speed limit in 2021, new figures from road safety agency Sécurité routière have shown.
This means that one in every 13 cars checked was found to be speeding, the rate having fallen from 8.8% to 7.5% between the first and last quarters of 2021.
The 500,000 infractions detected equates to 38% of the total number picked up in France by both private and police speed camera cars in that year, when in 2020, it had been 9%.
Some 96% of the speeding checks carried out by the private cars took place on roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or 90km/h, which are generally departmental main roads located outside of city centres.
Only 77,000 took place on roads with a speed limit of 110km/h or 130km/h.
What are private speed camera cars?
Private speed camera cars were first introduced in 2018, and are normally driven by outsourced operators as opposed to police officers. They are unmarked and look similar to normal cars, but can capture speeding vehicles even while driving themselves.
The aim of the cameras and cars is to detect dangerous driving, and to free up police time so they can focus on other road offences such as drink-driving, la Sécurité routière has said.
The drivers’ pay is not linked to the number of speeding cars they catch and they cannot deviate from specific routes set by the interior ministry.
They usually drive for six hours a day, issuing around two tickets per hour.
Speed camera cars will have been rolled out to all regions of France by the end of next year, and are already found in eight regions.
Information on French road activity
Private vehicles help Sécurité routière to monitor the safety of French roads by providing data on car numbers, average speeds, the risk of speeding and more.
In a report published through radars-auto.com, Sécurité routière stated that average speeds fell by 3.3% in 2021 compared to 2020, and were below official limits.
For example, on 70km/h roads, the average speed was 67.2km/h, while on 80km/h roads it was 68.3km/h and on 90km/h roads it was 78km/h.