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Speed radars income to soar to €1bn

Income from speeding fines in France has jumped 50% in three years, meaning the amount collected from camera penalties will exceed €1billion in 2019, official estimates show.

The rise is due in part to the launch in July of the controversial 80kph speed limit cut (reduced from 90kph) on 400,000km of secondary roads.

The €1bn is an increase of 50% in the amount brought in by fines compared to 2016 and does not include any extra charges imposed on unpaid fines.

Officials insist that the new 80kph limit is intended to reduce the number of deaths with a target set of fewer than 2,000 road deaths by 2020.

Figures for 2017 reveal 3,693 people were killed on French roads but this year’s July speed limit cut came in the middle of a four-month year-on-year dip in fatalities. Road deaths were  down 15.5% in August (compared to August 2017) but rose 8.8% in September (compared to September 2017). The good weather bringing out more drivers is cited as a reason.

Improving technology means automated cameras can now monitor vehicles’ speed on curved stretches of road.

Nearly 500 motorists and 160 motorcyclists died in traffic collisions on bends in 2016, figures from the l’Observatoire national de la sécurité routière (ONISR) show. It says the accidents are often caused by excessive or inappropriate speed.

The Interior Ministry has announced an additional 248 autonomous radars will be deployed on winding roads, particularly in the mountains.

These are in addition to the 3,275 fixed cameras in France, as well as mobile and temporary ones set up at roadworks.

You can see the location of different types of cameras at the new government site: radars.securite-routiere.gouv.fr

The increased number of cameras has not been well received by all, with a steep rise in vandalised cameras in the month the speed limit was cut.

In addition, several mayors have now followed the lead of Jean-Bernard Dufourd, mayor of the Gironde village of Naujac-sur-Mer, who in May issued a decree banning private companies from operating radar vehicles in the commune.

Since then, six others including Lesparre (also Gironde) have followed suit, pre-empting a nationwide roll-out of private speed radar vehicle operators, which began operating in Normandy in April.

Comparable figures in fine revenue from the UK, where it was confirmed last year that about half the country’s 2,838 fixed cameras were switched off, are only available from 2016 supposedly due to changes in the way the cash is collected.

In 2016, a total of 1.97 million fixed penalty notices, bringing in an estimated £78.5m, were issued for speeding offences across England and Wales. This does not include temporary cameras which raise millions of pounds – one in roadworks in Kent raising nearly £300,000 in just four months this summer.

Elsewhere, the French Ministry of Transport has published a report on the state of its most important road bridges.

It reveals that 23 need repairs – and two (the Echinghen viaduct on the A16 near Boulogne, Pas-de-Calais and the Caronte viaduct on the A55 at Martigues, Bouches-du-Rhône) need very urgent work. Both very urgent ones are undergoing repairs.

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