Speed trap alerts over Facebook

Facebook users who warn others where police have set up speed cameras are being taken to court in Rodez, Aveyron.

FACEBOOK users who warn others where police have set up speed cameras are being taken to court in Rodez, Aveyron, after the procureur decided they were breaking the Code de la Route on using radar detectors – despite many gendarmeries giving similar information on their pages.

The Aveyron Facebook page has 9,000 fans who give updated information on speed traps but the 10 leaders of the group behind it have been charged with using it as an “online radar detector” that breaks article R413-15 of the Code de la Route.
Rodez prosecutor Yves Delpérié brought the case, saying the group’s use of the Facebook smartphone app was using “a device or mechanism capable of detecting radar” to get round road checks.

He told Centre Presse in Aveyron he needed to “kill this in the egg as it puts all traffic controls in danger”.

The 10 users appear in court on September 9 and face a fine of €1,500 and six points on their licences but Paris lawyer Rémy Josseaume, president of the Automobile Club des Avocats, who represents five of them, doubts that the case can succeed.

He said: “This is the first time anyone has been pursued for this. The law was introduced to stop the use of radar detectors but the procureur feels using Facebook like this contravenes the law by allowing people to evade controls. But this is not the spirit of the law, which was not written with Facebook in mind.

“It is hypocritical as other gendarmeries use Facebook to highlight speed traps, as newspapers list speed traps and especially as the government itself lists camera sites.

“When Mr Delpérié says he wants to ‘kill this in the egg’ he wants to stop information being passed on, but he cannot stop people from talking to others: it’s freedom of expression.

“This is not well founded in law: you would also need to ban flashing headlights to warn of police.”

Radar detectors are illegal in France and such “driver aids” can only be carried if modified to highlight “danger areas” on the road without pinpointing speed traps.
No1 brand Coyote says its devices – including updated devices from the UK – now only warn of danger areas, such as within a 4km zone on the motorway.

New camera cars cover all France
BY THE middle of this month new generation mobile speed cameras will be in use in every mainland department – with 31 Citroën Berlingos joining the Renault Méganes and Peugeot 208s that are already on the road.

There will be 150 unmarked cars on the roads. They do not flash offenders and are aimed at drivers who are considerably over the speed limit. They have been in use for 15 months and have already caught 270,000 offenders.