France has an established reputation for being a bit strict when it comes to speeding. In 2018, the country implemented a privately operated speed camera car driven no by law enforcement, but by outsourced individuals. Their use has spread since then, and by 2021 these anonymous cars caught more than half a million speeding motorists in France.
Capturing multiple speeders takes a lot again drivers to watch. Based on Connection6.65 million vehicles underwent speed checks, resulting in over 500,000 fines totaling €76 million for 2021. That’s a hefty sum, but it was only 10 percent of the total fines issued for high-speed driving offences in the country last year.
The car is actually still owned by the government, but the driver is employed by a private company and because of that, they don’t pull over. Infrared cameras and technology are used to monitor traffic as drivers take predefined routes. The system does all the work, “flashing” a speeding car and logging info for fines. There is no indication of when the vehicle was flashed or quoted, and no information was provided to the camera car driver. In this case, the person behind the wheel is basically just driving an unmarked anonymous speed camera.
Private companies stepping into the realm of law enforcement have long been a controversial topic, especially when it comes to money. In this case, Connection explained that the driver and the company are not paid based on the quote issued, but on the mileage and there is a certain limit. Each driver has a route to follow, and they are required to maintain a normal speed during their shift. In theory, this does not encourage other riders to accelerate by slowing down. Drivers of camera cars can get hefty fines if caught intentionally speeding or slowing down for futz with other motorists.
Camera cars are also limited to a maximum fine of €194,000 per car in one year. However, 450 is currently in use across the country, meaning the French government allows up to €87.3 million in annual speeding fines generated by private companies.