Are there any clues to identify private radar cars in France?

Private cars with radars – private car radars Where new generation mobile radars in French – are now in operation across much of the country and are, of course, supposed to be difficult to spot.

Controlled by outsourced operators, the cameras are usually installed inside cars such as Peugeot 308, Dacia Sanderos, Ford Focus and Citroën Berlingo so that they blend in with normal traffic.

They use an invisible infrared flash to capture the license plates of speeding drivers, making it difficult for motorists to notice when they have been caught.

However, one feature that can help you distinguish cars is the black rectangle surrounded by gray that is attached to the rear windshield.

This is visible up close during the day and can reflect the headlights at night, making vehicles easier to spot, but if you’re going at high speed it’s probably too late.

If you walk straight towards the car, you can see an assortment of cameras in its windshield. Two smaller devices on either side of the front seats confirm the maximum speed limit for the zone while a larger camera placed in the middle of the dashboard captures details of vehicles accelerating.

Again, if a car is already accelerating, it may be intercepted before the driver notices the presence of a camera.

The license plate of the car will be the same as that of ordinary vehicles and therefore will not offer any indication of its purpose.

How likely is it that I run into a private car with automatic speed cameras?

Radar cars have been used by the French police since 2013, but private drivers have only been allowed to use them since 2018.

Read more: Private radar cars are spreading all over France

Drivers can work up to six hours a day while authorities are limited to one hour and 45 minutes. The presence of private operators could potentially free up police officers for other functions.

The route taken by independent drivers is determined in advance by the local police and authorized by the prefecture. There are no bonuses linked to the number of fines imposed either on the private company or on the internal driver.

There are expected to be 450 speed-sensing cars – 223 of which will be operated by private operators – in the country by the end of 2021.

Next year the cars will start covering the roads of Ile-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Occitanie, which means they will be present in the 12 regions of mainland France (and not Corsica).

To give an idea of ​​their efficiency, between August 16 and 28, these cars captured images of 793 vehicles driving at high speed in Deux-Sèvres.

The prefecture of the department said the devices imposed an average of 322 fines each month.

However, in departments where cars have yet to arrive, fines will not begin to be imposed until 2023.

While these passenger cars are harder to spot than conventional speed cameras, they are more forgiving of drivers.

They allow a vehicle to travel up to 10 km / h above the speed limit before inflicting a penalty in areas where the limit is less than 100 km / h. For areas where the speed limit is greater than 100 km / h, the margin is 10%.

Normal speed cameras only allow a car to travel 5 km / h over the speed limit, or 5% in areas where the limit is over 100 km / h.

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