Traffic ticket in France

Old May 30th, 2013, 10:32 AM
  #21  
 
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Most foreigners who drive in France are very well aware that there are traffic signal and speeding cameras, as they also exist all over Europe in every neighboring country of France.
If the French government had to rely on the few euros they make from foreigners from countries where those cameras don't exist, they would be bankrupt.
It happens all the time that you get a ticket as a local, and have no real clue that you went too fast at that specific speed trap.
Just keep in mind that "going with the flow" is no wise strategy for driving in Europe. You can't beat the system unless you obey the speed limits.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 03:41 AM
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"We were very tired when we arrived and picked up the car. A long journey from the west coast of North America will do that. We were driving quite slowly and cautiously, or so I thought. Chalk it up to experience!"

This is a good example, and I am not being snarky, of why so many of us recommend not driving after an overnight flight. It would be far worse in the UK or Ireland, but no one is at her/ his best after a long flight. I got a doozy of a ticket in Columbus, Ohio, on a business trip as I sailed along the interstate at 70 in a 55 zone. I was so glad to be off the plane after a bumpy flight, that my brain was just totally disengaged.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 05:35 AM
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Sorry, I did not mean to be condescending. I just think that when you are the outsider, you tend to forget that things like speeding tickets are far more common among locals. The government neither targets tourists with this policy nor makes a significant profit from speeding foreigners, as opposed to speeding resdents.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 06:53 AM
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Well camera fines are not limited to France, we have cameras at almost every intersection where I live.
It is not something one should have to be warned about by a rental car agency.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 07:50 AM
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There are rules and practices. The rules (the limits) are more static, but the practices (how enforced) have changed. That is why those who have driven before can get caught if they continue to drive assuming the past practices. If you read postings in this forum, you will find that even the most seasoned travelers get caught by traffic cameras - the time is changing. Unless the enforcement agencies have fouled up in siting of these cameras, I presume these devices always bring in sufficient revenues, so I don't think there is any lack of funding to install these devices. When doing train vs. car analysis, I now include probability costs of getting caught by these cameras with car rentals. My friends think they are too smart to get caught by these cameras so why bother, but for me, I do comparisons based on probabilities instead of wishful thinking.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 08:32 AM
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For any EU or Swiss citizens reading, as of this autumn all traffic violations anywhere in Europe will be charged to you in your own country. This has already been in application for a year between France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Naturally, there are some holdouts and guess who they are? United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark.

Frankly this is quite important but not actually for the "common tourist." 15% of the fatal accidents in France are caused by international truckers who drive too fast because of management pressure. Perhaps they will slow down a bit when they have to pay the fines.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 12:37 PM
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We just received a speeding ticket today when my husband's pedal must have been to the metal, in a small way. ;- ) We have to pay them 45euro. Sigh. Still the week in Amboise (and 2 days in Chartres) was worth it.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 12:54 PM
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That's not bad for a speeding ticket. Where I live in the US, there is a law that the ticket for speed camera infractions caps at $40, regardless of how fast you are going. However, in neighboring DC, the fine starts at $92 for only 11-15 miles over the limit, and can go up to $150 if you are going 25 miles over.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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The Europewide automotive ticket agreement begins this week in all EU countries except the 3 I already mentioned. The UK and Ireland staying out is not really a problem, because there are not really huge numbers of people who take cars to the continent even if we see what seems like "plenty" in France at least as far as Paris. Denmark refusing to participate makes no sense, though.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 01:51 PM
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Kerouac, do you know if that agreement means fines are charged at the rate of the country of residence, or at the rate of the country where the offence took place?

We have never had a fine when abroad, though DH has collected plenty here, but I am curious about that.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 03:21 PM
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As stated above, this must be due to achange in practice not in policy. Here in my corner of the US, the cameras have been not for speed but for red lights. The habit of pushing through yellow and early red is being wiped out by $80 charges. My own came with pictures -- I was 0.3 seconds too late in entering the intersection.

The driving speed habit around here is to regard the speed limit as a minimum speed. If they ever start speed cameras around here, the government will get rich and we'll all be late to work.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 05:16 PM
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. It is noteworthy that this alleged violation occurred within 30 minutes of our arrival.>

no just that you did not care to heed local traffic laws - to even suggest that the French cops are so corrupt to target tourists right out of the rental agency is absurd - you no doubt broke the law - pay up to avoid being an Ugly American!

Well that seems to be calling a spade a spade... French cops targeting tourists - c'est incroyable!
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 06:30 PM
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French cops have no way of targeting tourists. The cameras have no way of knowing who you are or where you or your car come from. That's absurd and paranoid. Plenty of European, including French, car renters, are driving rental cars.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 10:12 PM
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<i>French cops have no way of targeting tourists.</i>

Unless they drive tax-exempt "leases" that have red plates.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 05:09 AM
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The OP way back in May was talking about a radar ticket, which is as color blind as a dog.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 10:18 AM
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exactly. I think where I live, the cameras did start with red light runners, but expanded to cover speeding. I've gotten a couple, and now I do pay more attention to those areas and make sure not to go over the limit, so they do work. I don't have any objection to them, I think it is a reasonable way for the state to raise funds, as it is "voluntary" in the sense that you don't have to be breaking the law. And where I live, there are signs actually warning you that one is coming up, so they aren't even secretive about it.

There was an article in the paper here about some whiners complaining about one particular camera that caught them speeding because the camera is several hundred feet before the speed limit changes (to be higher), or something. So if it is normally 30, it goes up to 40 and they were caught because they were going over 40 before the new speed limit set in. I drive that road a lot and their argument is bogus as it isn't confusing at all what the limit is where the camera is which is quite a distance before the new sign, it isn't confusing as they claim. They were probably always speeding on that road, anyway, the full length of it, but some people just like to complain.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 11:49 AM
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I just wish there were more red light cameras in my part of Paris. The one closest to where I live is the one that records the most infractions in the city.
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Old Nov 8th, 2013, 04:12 AM
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PalenQ why so snarky? I never suggested that French police targeted tourists and it is not that we didn't care to heed local laws, we made a mistake regarding the speed limit in a particular location.

I am not sure where the Ugly American suggestion comes from. Please appreciate that many Fodorites hail from outside the USA . As a bilingual Canadian, I have never been confused with being Amercan , ugly or otherwise during my many stays in France.

The original post was to seek the collective wisdom of those on this forum. As Kerouac observes, this was 6 months ago, and the fine has long since been addressed.
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