Speed Camera Blackspots in France (Guest Blog)

There were nearly 13 million speed camera offences in France last year, and newly released information shows just where motorists are being caught.

It was the speed camera installed on the A41 between Annecy and Genève near to Saint-Julien-en-Genevois (Dept 74) which was the most active in the year. The camera is located on a 50km/h speed limit road, just before the Swiss frontier. It flashed an average of 462 times per day, 29 times the national average.

The fine for exceeding the speed limit in a 50 km/h area starts at €135 (although early payment reduces the level of the fine), so this camera alone brought in €22 million in the year.

In second position with 364 flashes per day was the camera situated along the 'Quai du 4 septembre' on the RD1 in the Boulogne-Billancourt district of Paris, where again a 50 km/h speed limit is in force.

The podium was completed by the camera at Bédarrides on the A7 between Lyon and Marseille, which flashed 323 times on average per day.

The figures have been obtained from the French government by the motoring magazine Autoplus.

The departments in France with the highest number of speed camera offences were Essonne, Nord and Val-de-Marne. At the other end of the scale those departments registering the fewest number of offences were Aveyron, Dordogne and Vendée.

Of course, as the figures take no account of the amount of traffic on each of roads, it is not possible to say just how effective is each camera as a percentage of traffic that passed by it.

There are nearly 2000 fixed speed cameras on French roads, an increase of around 100% over the past four years.

Last year total revenues received by the government from speed camera offences was €630 million, of which around €100 million was late payment fines.

In total last year the government obtained €1.7 billion in revenues for traffic offence fines.

The graphic below shows the top 50 most active fixed speed cameras, the speed limit in force, and the number of times it flashed in the year.

David Yeates


They can't Andy. The police would have to understand the settings for every make of GPS out there. It's hard enough for owners to use the devices with the user guide in hand let alone a poor policeman fumbling on the side of the road to find out if the speed camera warnings are switched on or off. What about cars with built-in devices. Users rarely update these because it is a chore to do so they will still have the (albeit out of date) locations onboard. I think this is more targeted at the dedicated speed trap warning devices not satnavs just as radar detectors were outlawed years ago.

Par contre, Tomtom should not be deleting content from users devices without permission. This is typical of the contempt (and I use that word advisedly) that Tomtom have for their customers. It is my decision whether I turn the warnings off or not, not Tomtom's.

I don't know how the gendarmes are going to police it, I don't have a tom-tom, I have a Garmin, how are they going to tell at the roadside if your camera warnings are turned off or on? there are possibly a dozen plus makes and hundreds of models. I had to scroll through 3 or 4 menus to find out how to turn mine off.

Correct, Steve, you need to drive at or within the posted limits, and for now there are even signs for the fixed cameras.

I'd be surprised if any of those adjust for the roads being wet. They'd need a solid definition, and I'm not sure that one exists.

@Shirley. The database in his car may not have the right info so he shouldn't be relying on the GPS to decide the speed he drives at.

Did any of the "offences" take place when it was wet and so the limits were reduced ? (Am not sure whether fixed cameras take rain into account though)

His GPS will be a better indication of his true speed than the speedometer as it's making a real time measurement.

NEW TYPE OF SPEED TRAP USES INFRARED AND DOESN’T FLASH, so the cars following are not warned by seeing the car in front flashed. I received this notice about the Pont d"Aquitaine (on the Bordeaux rocade). The traps are concealed in the security barriers.

Attention depuis ce weekend installation de nouveaux radars infra rouge sur le Pont d’Aquitaine qui prennent sans flash dans les 2 sens de circulation. Ils sont dans les barrières de sécurité des 2 côtés !!! faites tourner svp.

And don't even get me started on parents who have unrestrained toddlers lurching around in the front passenger seat...!!!

I lived in Germany for 18 months. From what I understand the number of deaths on the roads there isn't higher than anywhere else. There are maybe fewer accidents but with more serious consequences than when speeds are lower.

One thing I can tell you, however. Several times I did a journey from Grenoble to Dresden. There was 120km to Geneva on French autoroutes, then 200km or so thorough Switzerland, then the rest of the 1150km in Germany. In Switzerland the risk of accident for me was way higher than in Germany. Why? Because with a limit of 100 or 120 all the time you sit and gradually go to sleep. In Germany, on the unlimited sections, I was able to go very fast and I can tell you that I was 100% concentrated on the road all the time. I found the Swiss part far more dangerous than the German part of the trip.

And for the record, while this little discussion has been interesting and amusing, I think we should all reconsider why we live in this amazing country for a second, and let our actions lead the way. It's a gorgeous day. Get off your computers and go drink wine in the sun peoples. Reckless driving, speeding, stop signs, blah blah blah. The same argument and discussion could be had in almost every civilised country. A decent rosé on a sunny afternoon on the Cote D'Azur? Only in France... Au revoir!

And of Germany? A country known well for it's fast autobahns? Anyone got any feedback there? Have the cameras (and the massive increase in them) made any actual difference to road tolls? @ Steve, point taken, although I condisder getting a person's name correct (especially if you are referencing them) a common courtesy. However, with no fine needed to raise my attentivness, I will pay heed to your good point. Perhaps your fine was also unnecessary? @ Shelley, if you can't stand people's arrogance, I honestly wonder how you manage to survive in France at all! :-) Personally, I find the arrogance of someone's second hand smoke far more insulting than someone driving 10km over the 'arbitrary' speed limit. (Still with you on this Chris!)

That's almost as ridiculous as telling a country to reduce its average temperature by 2 degrees. We live in daft times, governed by even dafter people.


Each EU country has signed up to new limits on road deaths and will pay a fine for every death over their limit. I think France is supposed to be limited to 3000 this year. Once election is over, controls will be reinforced to try and hit this figure. (Info gained on my stage de récuperation de points)

"carelss actualy" Pot/Kettle/black :-)

Speed is purely the rate at which you progress along a road. It is abstract. It, intrinsically, is safe. Speed can never be an "offence" Contravention of an arbitrary limit is an offence, but in itself means nothing.

Humm - agree totally that there are far greater causes of accidents and bad driving, but speed certainly compounds the chances of problems and the ensuing consequences are likely to be far worse. My point is that speeding is still seen as an acceptable "crime, socially, much as drink-driving was some years ago. The limits are there for a purpose and I cannot accept the arrogance of people who feel that the rules do not apply to them and that they know better. Have heard the excuse "its ok for me to speed because I'm a safe driver" too many times and the argument holds no water. At least the cameras catch some of those who break the law - wish there was such a solution for the mobile phone-using drivers as I quite agree they are a hazard to themselves and others. I fully agree (Ian) that the police could do more in terms of advice and awareness - surely prevention is always better than cure.

@ Steve, your attentivness has a way to go yet. Louise, not Louis. Perhaps you should take the stop sign fine as a warning of bigger issues? :-) @ Shelley, have you driven in Germany recently? I'd like to know how the death tolls compare from country to country, taking into account overall population and in what speed zones the death occured. Also, I have always been (and will continue to be) under the impression that bad driving (such as your carelss overtakers on small winding roads and blind corners heading up a mountain) is the actualy cause of accidents and death on the road, whatever the speed. Death can happen at 50km or 150km. Perhaps a bigger focus needs to be on driver education?

@ Chris - I'm still with you on this one...

Sorry but someone doing 10 or even 20km per hour over the limit, isn't necessarily going to cause 'death & destruction'. the problem is when the speed isn't appropriate to the road conditions at the time and plain old fashioned BAD DRIVING. One of the main causes of this is people on Mobiles, this is what needs more severe punishments. Yes if someone is driving at 60 in a 50 it's bad & the possible pedestrian injuries from a collision are far greater, but someone doing 100 in a 90 on a country road when noone else is around for miles is not.

Don't agree. "Speeding" as you put it is merely a contravention of an arbitrary figure. Speed in itself is not a killer, but the reckless and experienced pursuance of it, and the exigencies of the immediate environment most certainly are.

If you drive properly in accordance with the prevailing conditions, and are aware of the stupidity of those with whom you share the road, there is no reason for speed to claim any more lives than the result of being struck by lightning.

I am far more concerned by the presence on French roads of inexperienced drivers, many old folk who can neither see nor drive properly, youngsters who don't care, and in general those who think that by driving within a few feet of your rear bumper they can survive a sudden application of your brakes.

Not speed, but lack of cognisance and driving attitude are the enemies.

I think cameras are bad because they don't deal with the problem. Accidents are caused by inappropriate speed, not by speed per se. A policeman who takes the conditions into account and then advises people on dangerous speeding will (I think) be far more effective. You can be well inside the speed limit and yet the speed is inappropriate, just as you can be way above the limit and be safe. It depends, and cameras can't distinguish nor ram home a message.

Of course here it doesn't help that the gendarmes only seem to want to catch people speeding in nice dry sunny conditions. :-)

A good thing too in my opinion. If I had my way there'd be far more cameras. It's about time people started to realise that speeding is simply unacceptable and causes death and destruction, there are no excuses. (Although I do agree that in some city areas the signage and frequent changing of limits needs some serious looking at). My French family are divided on the subject, clearly some of the old guard still think the speed limits are there to annoy people and claim not to always know what speed they are doing...my response being that if you are not aware, you possibly shouldn't be driving! (went down a treat). Personally I'm fed up of being overtaken by morons when I'm already doing the speed limit, often only to find that their haste is just to get to the Bar or Supemarché! Long live the flash, put the fines up and ban frequent offenders for life. There, rant over ;)

Each to their own, but the type of sign I described is specific to the location and for the purpose, and not just there to distract you.

Also, in these enlightened days where the French have decided that it 's prudent (and of more revenue benefit) to remove the warning signs prior to a speed camera, the 'radar' won't slow you down, as you won't ordinarily be aware of its presence and you often won't even know that you have been "clocked" until the demand for the fine drops on your doormat. I can't see for the life of me how that would have affected your driving at the time, and though it may retrospectively be expensive (and make you more aware of your speed for a little while in the future), if you were going to have been involved in a safety-related incident, you would have been anyway, regardless of the presence of a speed camera about which you knew nothing.