France writes off average speed checks because ‘too expensive’

The French traffic safety organization, Sécurité Routière, has decided to phase out average speed checks. According to some French media, they would be too expensive to maintain, although a motorists’ organization questions that. The oldest installations, which appeared in 2012, would even need replacement.

Average speed checks are no typical French phenomenon. They’re frequently used in Belgium and the Netherlands as well, where they’re considered a “concrete and effective measure to reduce the number of accidents” and “more effective than speed control cameras because they provide more than a ‘snapshot’ but check the average speed of a driver over a longer distance.

Not profitable enough

The French authorities have launched a tender for new speed cameras to replace average speed checks. However, the motorists’ organization ’40 Million d’Automobilistes’ disagrees with Sécurité Routière’s (SR) motivation. According to them,  the decision is not based on the equipment’s high maintenance or replacement costs but on profitability.

An average speed check ‘only’ yields about 5 000 fines per year, while a regular speed camera quickly results in 14 000 fines. According to the interest group, the actual argument is lucrativeness. “Speed traps should be there first and foremost to ensure the safety of road users, not to make money,” they argue.


 
 

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