News - 2012 - Satnav Showdown: France Clamp Down
Satnav Showdown: France Clamp Down
As of late, France has shown signs of becoming particularly strict with their motoring laws and legislations, and it seems their ‘on-board breathalyzer’ law was only the first of things to come. Satellite navigation systems which feature an active speed camera detector can now land motorists in hot water, so satnav manufacturers are advising customers to switch off the speed camera alert function to avoid punishment. Motorists found to be using a satnav with built-in active speed camera detector features can expect to face a hefty fine of around €1500, meaning tourists taking a leisurely road trip around the country could quickly have their break ruined if they fail to adhere to France’s new legislation.
It seems however, that there are doubts as to how exactly France’s police force will be able to enforce this new law effectively; it’s fair to say that distinguishing from a distance whether or not an on board satnav has an active speed camera warning feature is difficult enough in itself, suggesting random stop-checks may be the police’s only effective way of clamping down on motorists. Motoring lawyer Eric de Caumont spoke to French newspapers, stating that police will not be able to scrutinize GPS devices at the side of the road as it would infringe the owner’s right to privacy.
The ban, introduced on January 3rd, clearly adopts a zero tolerance policy to any form of speed camera detection device and states “The possession or carrying of a machine, device or product of nature to be such as to detect the presence or disrupt the operation of apparatus, instruments or systems for the detection of offenses to law or regulation road traffic or allow to escape the observation of these offenses is punishable by a fine for contraventions of the fifth class”. The legislation under article R413 – 15 of the French ‘Code de la Route’ (Highway Code) continues to state that the application of speed camera detectors to any vehicle may result in the seizure of the vehicle itself, as well as the sizable fine. The French governments strict ‘no nonsense’ policy is certainly not to be taken lightly, and drive-in visitors who do not have time to fit in a hunt for http://www.justmotorlaw.co.uk/services/ should follow the law’s guidelines to the letter. UK drivers may have their licence revoked for failing to follow French driving laws, meaning their vehicle would likely be impounded if a back-up driver is not available.
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If you are planning a trip to France and will be driving during your time there, contact the satnav or smartphone manufacturer and ask for advice. Many manufactures and providers create software updates which can remove speed camera location data from the devices and then be reinstalled upon leaving the country. Be sure to look into France’s motoring laws and legislations; heavy ‘on-the-spot’ fines and punishments are commonplace in all areas of the country and foreign travelling motorists may fall short by not paying attention.
Written by Daniel Travis Brown on behalf of Just Motor Law – UK based Driving Offence Solicitors.