Speed cameras on French roads have been on the increase since they were introduced in 2003, nearly halving the number of driving fatalities and earning an astounding €700 million in fines. But despite the impressive numbers, not everyone is happy.
According to the French National Agency for Automatic Offences (ANTAI), fines paid as a result of speed traps have almost doubled since 2007 (362 million euros).
Meanwhile, the National Road Safety Agency (ONISR) reported a dramatic fall in the number of deaths on French roads, from 7,655 in 2002 to 3,963 in 2011.
This drop in fatalities was and remains the primary purpose of installing the cameras, although the income generated will be welcomed by the French authorities (it costs around 200 million euros to maintain and improve the speed camera network).
This year’s record haul is a surprise, however, as improved driving on French roads saw the number of speeding offences plateau by 2010.
'Standards have slipped'
French business daily Les Echos on Friday quoted one unnamed expert as saying that “motorists’ standards had slipped somewhat” in the last 18 months and that there had been “an increase in the average speed illustrated by a 20 per cent rise in fines in the first half of 2012.”
But the boost in revenues may also be the result of a significant rise in the number of cameras in recent years.
In 2008, France had 1,400 fixed cameras. There will be more than 2,200 by the end of 2012.
In addition, the country has 933 mobile radars (around the same number for the last decade) and 659 traffic light cameras, in place since 2009.