Unmarked radar cars will be in more French regions soon

Three more regions are set to get the private cars from 2025

The private speed camera cars use discreet technology to ‘flash’ speeding vehicles close to them

Unmarked, private speed camera radar cars are to begin patrolling roads in three more regions of France from next year onwards.

The cars, which monitor drivers’ speed from unmarked vehicles on a pre-set route, will soon be operational in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Occitanie.

In mid-June, the government asked for tenders from companies to provide radar speed camera cars. Companies have until July 29 to submit their proposal. The Direction de la Sécurité Routière will then choose a winning candidate with the first vehicles set to be operational from early 2025.

Around 126 private vehicles are expected to be deployed across the regions’ 31 departments, and the rollout will be complete across these new regions by the end of 2026.

After this the scheme may be extended to Corsica, which would leave only Ile-de-France as the region not to have the cars. It is likely to be included in the scheme’s ‘Nord’ region in the coming years.

What are private speed camera cars?

Private speed camera cars are unmarked vehicles fitted with on-board radars that use invisible infrared technology to flash drivers if speeding.

The cars are typically smaller, commonly-seen vehicles such as Peugeots, Renaults, Dacias, Fords, Volkswagens etc.

Eagle-eyed drivers may be able to spot the cars, as they do have discreet cameras at the front and back.

Read also: Are there any clues to identify private speed camera cars in France? 
Read more: How to spot unmarked speed control cars on French roads

The radar cars must travel along pre-set routes that are determined by the state, and can only flash vehicles that overtake or pass them. They are typically used on accident- or speed-prone roads, and can be used on motorways, national roads, departmental and commune roads.

The cars’ drivers do not operate the speeding equipment, it is automatic. They simply follow their GPS commands and drive normally.

The cars are in operation seven days a week, day and night, including on bank holidays (jours fériés), but each vehicle is only operational for around six hours a day.

Read also: How to contest a driving or speeding fine in France
Read also: 12 questions and answers about private speed radar cars in France 

The private companies are not themselves paid by the number of fines they bring in, but by the number of kilometres travelled, which are pre-set, no matter how many fines they issue.

It is estimated that each car brings in €194,000 per year for the state in fines, according to la Ligue de défense des conducteurs.

Rollout across France

Speed camera cars have been in circulation throughout mainland France since 2013, but they began to be privatised in 2018. 

They were initially driven by two police officers or gendarmes in uniform, but are now driven by private drivers, in a bid to free up the police and gendarmerie for other more specialised tasks.

The cars were first rolled out in Normandy in 2018, and by 2020 had been deployed in Brittany, Pays de la Loire, and Centre-Val de Loire. In 2021 they were rolled out in Grand-Est, Hauts-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, and Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

What are the fines issued by these private cars for speeding?

Fines vary according to how much over the speed limit a driver is travelling.

They start at €68 and a point deduction for being less than 20km/h over the limit, up to €1,500 and a three-year ban for those who are more than 50km/h over the speed limit.

How likely am I to be caught by a private radar car?

Their numbers are increasing but private and public speed cameras are still rare in relative terms, drivers are still far more likely to be caught by a ‘regular’ speed camera.

In 2022, they accounted for just under 9% of the 4,422 speed cameras in service, and 5.9% of speeding tickets issued in France.