Motorway driving in France: new safety alert for security lanes

The system uses AI and a camera to alert patrol agents and distracted drivers before accidents happen

Safety patrollers work to keep the roads clear and safe but the job can be dangerous due to vehicles travelling at high speed

Patrol vehicles on motorways in France are soon to have new tools to improve safety, with figures showing that two vans are hit on average every week, and seven workers have died since 2022.

Motorway patrollers travel up and down motorways ensuring that the roads are kept clear and safe for drivers, to avoid collisions and accidents. 

Yet, with road users going at speeds up to or even more than 100 km/h in each lane, the job can be dangerous.

Read also: What is the procedure if my car breaks down on a French motorway? 

Artificial intelligence alerts

The new system, called PatrolCare, is now being deployed across all patrol vehicles. 

It uses artificial intelligence to learn on the job, and alerts patrol workers to dangerous driving and the risk of an accident, so they can avoid a potential collision. 

It uses a camera installed on the back of the patrol vehicle to analyse data and road status in real-time, and can identify danger within a radius of 200m.

If a vehicle enters this area, the system sets off a loud, piercing alarm. This is designed to alert the patroller, but also the errant driver, in a bid to warn them of the impending obstacle and make them move.

Already, 40 patrol vehicles are equipped with this new system. It has been developed by, an AI specialist branch of the motorway company Vinci Autoroutes. 

More than 200 vehicles are set to have the system on board by the end of this year.

Read also: New 50km/h motorway morning speed limit is idiotic, says French mayor 
Read also: Should France's 130km/h motorway speed limit be lowered? 

Deaths on the job

It comes after seven safety patrollers have died while working on the roads in the past two years. The main causes of accidents are distracted drivers, or those who have accidentally fallen asleep while driving. 

Others appear to forget the rules of the ‘safety corridor’ on motorways, which stipulate that you must slow down when approaching a safety patrol vehicle and change lanes to avoid them.

One patroller, Johan Moreau, told TF1 that one of his colleagues died on the job last year. “We avoid danger as much as possible,” he said. “But we can’t control the user in the vehicle.”