back to article Égalité, Fraternité - Oui, peut-etre. Liberté? NON, French speedcam Facebookers told

A judge in France has slapped a month-long driving ban on 15 people for posting info about speed cameras on Facebook. The court in Rodez, a small town north-east of Toulouse in the south of France, took a very literal interpretation of article R413-5V of the French rules of the road, which makes it illegal to alert drivers to …

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  1. DavCrav Silver badge

    I don't need to drive in France. Send this information to me by e-mail, and I can put it on Twitter.

    Or something like this.

    1. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Send it to me. I'm on the far side of the Atlantic from France, and haven't driven in France for over a decade. They literally can't do a damn thing to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Win Win

        Also, there is absolutely no danger of you or your family being run over by a speeding French driver - so it's a win-win.

        1. James O'Shea Silver badge

          Re: Win Win

          Nah, I live in Florida. Plenty of French-speaking madmen driving around here, mostly Quebecois snowbirds. And we have Cuban Cowboys and their sisters, Las Latinas Brava. There are _lots_ of low-flying idiots, though I'll admit that the Quebecois manage to scare even Las Latinas Brava, something not even a state trooper flashing blue lights in the rearview can to do.

  2. therealvicz

    Not afraid of the European Arrest Warrant then?

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Nope. From Wikipedia:

      "It can only be issued for offences carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months or more in prison."

      Edit: There are other criteria for refusal of an EAW, including the offence was committed outwith the issuing state's territory and would not be a crime in the executing state, which this is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Besides a French court cannot impose a driving ban on a UK license (or vice versa). The most they can do is fine you.

        1. kraut

          <blockquote>Besides a French court cannot impose a driving ban on a UK license (or vice versa). The most they can do is fine you.</blockquote>

          The French most certainly can ban you from driving in France. Just like the Swiss can ban you from driving in Switzerland, say for speeding.

          Don't ask me how I know.

          Mine's the one with the "go faster" stripes on the pockets/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > Just like the Swiss can ban you from driving in Switzerland, say for speeding.

            They can also kick you out of the country, say for candidly exchanging impressions about their motherland with Swiss customs officers.

            Don't ask me how I know.

    2. Psyx

      Pretty sure that a good lawyer and a willingness to go to the court of human rights could probably get them off.

      Frankly, it's a free speech issue.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge
        Coat

        >Frankly, it's a free speech issue.

        This is france. They'll chop your head off just for having the wrong parents.

        icon: ... and your arms and legs.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think the AA already advise people that satnavs with speed camera warnings can get you into trouble with the French police.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Shouldn't that only get the satnav manufacturer into trouble if, as the article states, the law does not cover those receiving information.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Quote: Shouldn't that only get the satnav manufacturer into trouble if, as the article states, the law does not cover those receiving information.

        Actually most SatNav software on sale in Eu will not display camera warnings in France and if memory serves me right in Switherland for this exact reason without you going in and tinkering with the settings.

        Law is an ass and napoleonic law doubly so - it _DOES_ not leave the magistrate _ANY_ freedom of interpretation as in AngloSaxon law. This is a double-edged sword as if there is no offence specified there is no way for the judiciary to engage in creative interpretation and sentencing as they do in the land of the Common Law. However, if there is an offence (as in this case) they have no choice, but to administer the assigned punishment which they did. C'est la vie.

        1. Extra spicey vindaloo

          My tomtom definitely had camera warnings, about 500m +- of the camera. I no longer use it as the updates never worked, CoPilot has the cameras as well, but with less accuracy.

        2. Psyx

          To be fair, our magistrates don't have much leeway, either.

        3. James Micallef Silver badge

          In Switzerland it's illegal to have any form of detector for speed cameras, whether it's a radar detector or a satnav giving you the instructions. So, unlike France, it's not just illegal to publish information about speed cameras, it's illegal to receive any such information.

          Legally, if you have a satnav you are required to turn off any speed-camera-warning functionality as soon as you enter Switzerland. Practically, I'm not sure how this could be enforced... I think a radar-detector can itself be detected, but police would have to have stopped you for some other reason and would probably require some suspicion to check your GPS

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Stop speeding and stick to the driving laws of the country you're in. Pick another country if you disagree with them.

            Why, when it's driving, do we all suddenly feel the urge to break the law but NEVER campaign to, for example, raise the limits (the 80mph on motorways proposed in the UK was shot down due to complete lack of interest) if we want to drive that fast? What is it about cars that makes us magically want to break a clearly set-down, long-established number?

            Stick to the limit. Then it doesn't matter if you have a speed camera every foot of the road that's entirely invisible and you're not allowed any devices at all. Or the complete opposite.

            Honestly, people, I'm not a goodie-two-shoes but every time I discuss this, people take offence at the suggestion that they should just keep it under 70 rather than bitch and moan about what colour the pole was that the camera which caught them was attached to.

    2. Dr_N Silver badge

      Only if they are " too accurate".

      So long as they conform to NF Logiciel n° 203 and alert to a zone of a few kilometres rather than pin-pointing the exact location of the radar to within a couple of hundred meters they are legal in France.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      What about Maps?

      The Michellein Road Atlas of France that I have has all the fixed camera locations marked.

      Perhaps this whole thing is the typical French 'Do as I say and not as I do!'

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: What about Maps?

        Germany as well, I think you can add it after purchase (small print, as long as you don't activate it in Germany), but you can't purchase with it enabled. It is a 75€ fine if you are caught.

  4. Whiskers

    Hazard

    Why not post 'hazardous road' warnings for the places where the speed cameras are placed? After all, there is no other legitimate reason for installing speed cameras - and who could object to informing drivers of hazards?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hazard

      Why not post 'hazardous road' warnings for the places where the speed cameras are placed? After all, there is no other legitimate reason for installing speed cameras - and who could object to informing drivers of hazards?

      Precisely what http://www.viamichelin.com does

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Hazard

      "there is no other legitimate reason for installing speed cameras"

      That doesn't stop governments from installing them as revenue-generators. I always said, if there was a genuine hazard and the intention was to really slow motorists down, you would have a highly visible camera housing, painted in bright orange. If you actually don't care about motorists slowing down, but are just interested in revenue, you would hide the cameras round corners and paint them in nondescript colours or even camouflage.

      The fact that cameras are always configured in the latter way discloses their real functionality.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hazard

        Thankfully in the UK, disguising the things was made illegal over a decade ago.

        That doesn't stop the speed camera outfits from trying (putting them in a gap in the hedgerow, as a f'instance), but tickets from such devices are likely to be thrown out if challenged.

        It's fairly interesting that should you try and film a mobile operator, they'll try to stop you doing anything which would result in them being identified, particularly if they're in a dodgy position (including driving off with the gear still running).

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Hazard

          in the UK, disguising the things was made illegal over a decade ago

          It didn't really work. I think the law says they have to be yellow, but fails to specify what kind of yellow. The small, presumably digital, cameras that are replacing the big square boxes all seem to be painted a dull buff colour.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hazard

        If you actually don't care about motorists slowing down, but are just interested in revenue, you would hide the cameras round corners and paint them in nondescript colours or even camouflage.

        Precisely what the french police do... (the boxes are grey and have very little of the yellow/black tape) ;-)

        They do post big signs on the autoroute warning you when one is comping up though.

      3. Terry Barnes

        Re: Hazard

        "That doesn't stop governments from installing them as revenue-generators. I always said, if there was a genuine hazard and the intention was to really slow motorists down, you would have a highly visible camera housing, painted in bright orange."

        That makes no sense though. Apart from specific junctions on some roads, it's stretches of road that are dangerous. It's impossible to have a camera that covers the whole stretch, though I suppose we could start to use average speed cameras instead and time people in and out of the dangerous section.

        Stats show that people who have points for speeding are roughly twice as likely to have an at fault accident than a driver without, so there's clearly some merit in the cameras. they're unlikely to work as revenue raisers though as 1) in the UK all the fines go on driver awareness courses and 2) you only need to catch someone four times and the revenue the exchequer receives from a driver in terms of fuel tax (and sometimes income tax) tends to decline rather rapidly.

        I avoid any problem by simply never speeding. I don't have camera warnings on my satnav, I just have it set to alert me if I exceed the limit by 1MPH.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hazard

          > It's impossible to have a camera that covers the whole stretch, though I suppose we could start to use average speed cameras instead and time people in and out of the dangerous section.

          It's not impossible. As you have stated, average speed cameras do take care of that, largely in a slightly more civilised way.

          I am aware however of people beating those by having "pilot" cars do the stretch between the two cameras at just below the posted limit. They start at the same time, speed up for a bit, then slow down to a crawl until their pilot car catches up with them which they then follow until the next camera--rinse and repeat.

          I think those people are utter idiots though, and should just go and hire a racetrack (which is precisely what I do when I want to race) instead of being a nuisance and a danger to the public.

      4. Manolo

        Re: Hazard

        "That doesn't stop governments from installing them as revenue-generators."

        Whoosh.

        I think Whiskers forgot the sarcasm mark when he wrote "there is no other legitimate reason for installing speed cameras".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hazard

      "Why not post 'hazardous road' warnings for the places where the speed cameras are placed? After all, there is no other legitimate reason for installing speed cameras"

      Unfortunately the main hazard is mobile and called "other bloody drivers".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    This doesn't apply to the UK.

    otherwise this lot would be in trouble.

    http://www.srpwestmercia.org.uk/camera-statistics-2/

  6. Khaptain Silver badge
    Flame

    Google Waze

    Intially I had a GPS which I could update with the locations of all the SpeedCams, they got banned.

    Then I bought a Coyote, which alerted me in real time about those damned SpeedCams, Coyote were told to stop the dynamic updates or go out of business, Coyote followed the rules, wimps.

    So now I use Waze, I hate the cartoon style characters but the application is actually pretty good. It doesn't just warn me about speed traps but it also includes accidents, stopped cars, traffic jams, weather alerts etc etc .. I just wonder how long it will be before they ban it too....

    Here in France they are have now started doing tests to limit the 90 Kmh B roads down to 80 Kmh. You can be sure that this will give them yet another excuse to increase the number of Fixed SpeedCams/Mobile Speedcams...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. unwarranted triumphalism Bronze badge

        Re: Google Waze

        No, they couldn't possibly do that. It's a violation of their Yooman Rights, you see.

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Google Waze

          I worked with a cop who had switched careers to IT. He had previously done a broad range of jobs while working as a sheriff's deputy. I asked him what thing he had dealt with that bothered him the most. He told me it was speeding - that endangering your (the driver's) life and the lives of everyone around you for the sake of a few minutes was inexcusable. I don't speed any more.

          I believe speed traps are pure crap as they are effectively there to impose an additional tax on people rather than ensure their safety. In fact, drivers are apt to panic and make a mistake if they are surprised by one coming around a corner at a too high a speed. I believe the Finns, Swiss, et cetera have it right in matching the penalty to the goal of decreasing dangerous and unwanted behavior. I realize many people do not feel that way about speeding, but it is refreshing to have fairly rational laws in place.

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: Google Waze

            @Robert.

            >Swiss, et cetera have it right in matching the penalty to the goal of decreasing dangerous and unwanted behavior.

            All that this creates is a situation whereby the rich people are the ones doing the speeding because they can afford it and also because they have very nice, very fast cars.

            Almost every week in the "20 Minutes" a free local Swiss newspaper, you read about someone in a fast expensive car breaking the speed limit and getting severly fined.

            Here is a link to what I believe is the current record breaker. 300 000 Chf for doing 140Kmh in a 100kmh zone.. The driver, a german, who has already been fined for the same thing multiple times, is a multimillionaire...... Does it stop people driving fast, not in the slightest.

            http://www.20min.ch/ro/news/suisse/story/Un-exces-de-vitesse-a-300-000-francs--24794610

            Here is another, this time a Swiss driver

            http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Swiss_millionaire_gets_record_speeding_fine

            There really are examples of this kind of thing, albeit smaller fines but similar speeds, every week.

            (It's quite common to see bikes).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Google Waze

              > All that this creates is a situation whereby the rich people are the ones doing the speeding because they can afford it and also because they have very nice, very fast cars [....] Does it stop people driving fast, not in the slightest.

              It does considerably reduce the number of people driving fast though, thereby increasing safety and making roads more civilised places in general.

              I live in a country where most people abide by the posted speed limits because of a) proper driver education, b) frequent checks, c) stiff penalties (loss of licence, criminal record) and d) it's generally considered impolite to drive without due consideration for others. It makes a day and night difference compared to places like France and the UK, and I actually enjoy driving here.

              1. The First Dave

                Re: Google Waze

                One of the effects that speed cameras have is to make the roads more dangerous. For example, until recently, there was one on a trunk road near me (no longer a trunk road, so the camera has now gone) which was on the one straight bit of road for several miles. Rural location, so lots of tractors around, so everyone had to overtake them on the bends instead...

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Google Waze

        So you've never done 30.05 in a 30 zone?

    2. John R. Macdonald
      Alert

      Re: Google Waze

      Are you sure about the Coyote dynamic updates? I'm not. When I upgraded my Coyote, the salesperson showed me the undocumented way of reporting the new mobile radar trap zones (unmarked police cars with radar hidden behind the front number plate that snap your rear plate if you are speeding when overtaking them).

      The drivers in this Rodez case are appealing their sentence.

      Oh and a better subtitle could be "Vous rigolez n'est-ce pas?"

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Google Waze

        @John are you in GB or France.

        The other problem with Coyote was a monthly fee was required , whereas Waze if, for the moment, is still free.

        Do you have a link to those undocumented features. ( just for information purposes of course)

        1. John R. Macdonald

          Re: Google Waze

          I'm in France.

          The monthly fee for the Coyote I have is 10 or 12 euros depending on your subscription plan.

          For your, ahem, research and if you can read French

          http://www.moncoyote-forum.com/t20178-radar-mobile-mobile-dit-mouvant (about 1/3rd down the page)

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: Google Waze

            @John

            Ok merci, je vais de nouveau etudier la Coyote... ZAR ou ZARM zat is ze question....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Jeremy Clarkson Effect...

    Haven't all the motorists here, passed their driving test?

    To pass the Driving Test and obtain a licence you have to show that you are in complete control of the vehicle 100% of the time.

    Being able to control the speed of the vehi..........you know what, forget it.......just keep moaning about the cameras.

    1. Psyx

      Re: The Jeremy Clarkson Effect...

      "Being able to control the speed of the vehi..........you know what, forget it.......just keep moaning about the cameras."

      Travelling at the velocity of a speed limit in no way has a bearing on one's control of the vehicle. There is no relation between the two.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: The Jeremy Clarkson Effect...

        Exactly Psyx, sometimes the weather conditions mean that driving at a speed anywhere near approaching the speed limit would be dangerous.

        But you can control the vehicle and drive at or under the posted speed limit. If you don't, then you have to live with the consequences.

        I've used the navigation feature on my smartphone once in the last 2 years. I don't even know whether it offers speed trap notices. I usually know where I am going and I look around me.

        1. Psyx

          Re: The Jeremy Clarkson Effect...

          "Exactly Psyx, sometimes the weather conditions mean that driving at a speed anywhere near approaching the speed limit would be dangerous."

          Quite. 70mph in fog is an insane speed to drive at.

          And likewise sometimes travelling in excess of it is perfectly safe as well. After all: Most were established when cars lacked disc brakes, independent suspension and ABS.

          1. Eponymous Cowherd

            Re: The Jeremy Clarkson Effect...

            "And likewise sometimes travelling in excess of it is perfectly safe as well.

            But illegal.

            If you knowingly exceed the speed limit and get caught, you only have yourself to blame. That is the way the law works. Its no good whining about sneakily placed speed traps, you know the law, you broke it, you got caught. Man up and take it on the chin rather than crying like a baby.

            Oh? You already have 9 points on your licence? Well you were triply stupid speeding knowing that another ticket would result in a ban and no job then, weren't you.

            1. Psyx

              Re: The Jeremy Clarkson Effect...

              "But illegal."

              Nice rant, but that was not the point that was being discussed.

              "If you knowingly exceed the speed limit and get caught, you only have yourself to blame. "

              If you unknowing do, it's your own fault too. Should have paid attention to the big numbers two feet from your face, or got the speedo fixed.

              "Man up and take it on the chin rather than crying like a baby. Oh? You already have 9 points on your licence?"

              Great assumptions and mud slinging there. Mine's clean. Partly because I keep an eye out for sodding great bright yellow boxes stuck on poles on the roadside. Anyone caught by one of them deserves the fine for inattentiveness behind the wheel as much as their velocity. However I have zero personal issues as regards putting my foot down when appropriate to conditions, rather than obeying an arbitrary legal limit.

              Anyway, you are statistically likely to be no angel yourself, having perhaps broken equivalent laws: Parking on curbs, dropping people off on double yellows, driving or drinking when driving, using a phone while driving, driving with faults that would cause an MOT failure which had slipped your notice, cutting up the curb on a bike. Each one of those is in the same ballpark as putting a toe down on an empty stretch of road.

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