French speed cameras ‘much stricter’ than in the UK

French speed camera tolerances

How strict are French speed cameras? A new report claims speed limit tolerances in France are much tighter than in the UK.

Over here, 10 percent plus 2 mph is generally the permitted maximum before you see a flash in your rear-view mirror. But the AA says French cameras aren’t so lenient…

How tight are speed camera tolerances in France?

French speed camera tolerances

French cameras can be triggered when cars pass at just five percent over the limit. That means beyond 31 mph in a 30 mph zone, or 42 mph in a 40 mph zone.

At motorway speeds, you could ‘get away’ with 79 mph in the UK (although clearly this isn’t recommended). The equivalent in France is just 73 mph.

The AA surveyed nearly 20,000 of its members and found one-in-five weren’t aware of the tighter tolerances. It estimates that almost 800,000 British drivers could be fined for speeding in France by the end of the year.

Borders won’t protect you now, either. The MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance agreement) has been in effect since May 2017, requiring all EU members to share details on those who break driving laws in other countries with the appropriate authorities.

French speed cameras: what you need to know

French speed camera tolerances

  • There’s a five percent speed tolerance
  • They’re not painted in bright colours
  • There are signs to warn that they’re up ahead
  • If caught speeding, the fine WILL reach you
  • There are over 2,000 fixed cameras on French roads

“Year in and year out, UK holidaymakers driving abroad are advised to mug up on the road laws they are visiting,” said AA president, Edmund King.

“And now we know from official statistics that the French police are on a mission to chase up fines from British drivers before Brexit. Whether you’re driving in the UK or France, if you stay within the limit you’ll keep out of trouble.”

Drivers who pass first time are most likely to speed

First time test passers speeding

New data reveals that drivers who passed their test first time are more likely to speed. Indeed, this group makes up nearly a third of those caught for driving too fast.

A Freedom of Information request by insurance website GoCompare, in combination with a survey of 2,000 UK adults, showed that 29 percent of drivers caught speeding had passed their test at the first attempt. For comparison, those who passed after five attempts made up 19.3 percent of speeding convictions.

Faster doesn’t always mean more dangerous

Although the first-time passers seem to drive faster, it’s those who needed more than five attempts to pass who get into most trouble elsewhere on the road.

A quarter (24.8 percent) of self-inflicted damage cases, and the same proportion of accidents with other vehicles, were caused by this ‘five-plus’ group. First-time passers, by contrast, made up just 7.8 percent of self-inflicted damage claims and 17.7 percent of collisions.

The five-plus passers are also four times more likely to ignore road signs, and six times more likely to use their phone while driving. Overall, 60 percent of the group have driving convictions, compared with 33 percent of first-time passers.

Driving test pass-rate is down

First time test passers speeding

In terms of how long we’re taking to pass our driving tests, only Scotland, the North East, and Yorkshire and Humberside have seen increases in pass-rates during the 2017-2018 period, by comparison with 2014-2015.

Overall across the UK, first-time pass rates are down by 3.6 percent, at a record low of 43.6 percent.

There is a nationwide speeding crackdown underway right NOW

Speeding crackdown UK

Speedy motorists, beware: the NPCC (National Police Chiefs’ Council) is in the midst of a UK-wide speeding crackdown involving forces from all over the country.

Officially, the two-week campaign began on January 14 and is to end on the 27th, although forces across the country are free to vary per their whim. Cheshire Constabulary, for instance, has been running its own three-week program since January 7.

The goals of the nationwide crackdown should be obvious; reduce speed-related fatalities on the road, increase awareness of the dangers of speeding, and encourage motorists to drive to the road environment and conditions.

Needless to say, a crackdown on speed isn’t all about education. To actively reduce speed-related fatalities, there will inevitably be some stoppages, fines and penalty charges.

“We work closely with our partners all-year round to target speeding drivers,” said acting inspector Julian Ditcham from the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Armed Policing Team.

“Campaigns like this help us to enforce the law but to also educate motorists and raise awareness of the dangers of speeding.

“Speed limits are in place for a reason – the limit is set at the maximum safe speed to travel on a particular stretch of road.”

Norfolk and Suffolk forces are actively taking part in the campaign, alongside Warwickshire,  West Mercia police and more. Figures show that 73 people have been killed and 557 people injured in the Warwickshire area in speed-related collisions over the past three years.

The campaign has received enthusiastic support from independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart. The charity urges the importance of UK motorists learning that speeding isn’t a ‘victimless crime’.

“That is total nonsense,” said Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research.

“Many drivers think they can easily handle the speed they drive, and assume their skills are great enough to handle an emergency. We at IAM RoadSmart would like to ask those people to take a long, hard look at their attitudes and stop kidding themselves they are always safe.”

Figures quoted by IAM RoadSmart suggest that, either due to excessive speed for road conditions or excessive speed in general, speed can be associated with over 300 fatalities and over 2,500 serious injuries on the road. Over 10,000 minor injuries can be associated with speed-related accidents.

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Speeding Oxfordshire Motorist Jailed

Motorist jailed for lying to police over speeding ticket

Speeding Oxfordshire Motorist Jailed

A driver branded as a ‘fantasist’ by the sentencing judge has a received a 12-month prison sentence for misleading the police over a simple speeding offence. Coming just weeks after a Range Rover driver was jailed for perverting the course of justice, it’s clear some motorists are willing to take serious risks to avoid penalties for speeding.

Christopher Henry, of Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire, was caught speeding by a Hampshire Police mobile camera van more than two years ago in February 2016. Rather than admitting the offence, Henry began an elaborate trail of deceit more akin to a James Bond movie rather than a simple traffic offence. 

At the time, Henry was driving a Land Rover Freelander registered to his ex-wife. Henry intercepted the documents issued by Hampshire Constabulary, completing the paperwork in his ex-wife’s name. He claimed a French national was the new owner of the car, and that the man lived at his address. 

The story took an ever stranger twist when Henry completed the paperwork then sent to the non-existent French national, stating that the real driver was a man called George Harris who lived on the remote Isle of Lewis in Scotland.

Henry was very much mistaken in his belief that the police force wouldn’t expend much effort investigating a speeding ticket. Having found no record of the fictional men, the police contacted Interpol to assist with investigations in France, who found that the Frenchman’s name was taken from a wax museum, with his given address a hotel.

Making contact with the postmistress on the Isle of Lewis, police discovered that she had no record of any of the names given, or Henry himself, despite her having lived her entire life on the island. 

Speeding Oxfordshire Motorist Jailed

Henry was finally caught by the police finding his fingerprints on the paperwork submitted, but most significantly by voice recordings of calls made to the AA by him from when the Land Rover Freelander had broken down. When questioned, Henry had previously denied ever driving the vehicle. 

The trial jury was presented with the elaborate tale, along with details of the false email accounts, falsified dates of sale provided to the DVLA, and doctored insurance details. Taking just 40 minutes to reach a verdict, the jury found the 52-year-old Henry guilty on three counts of perverting the course of justice. 

Had Henry admitted to the original offence at the time, Hampshire Constabulary confirmed he would have received a £100 fine and three penalty points, rather than a 12-month stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure. 

Henry also received six points for the original offence, was fined £1,600, and was handed a three-month disqualification from driving. 

Audi A3 Saloon

9 in 10 company car drivers speed on motorways

Audi A3 SaloonThe RAC Report on Motoring has discovered speeding amongst company car drivers is on the up, with 88% admitting they break the speed limit on the motorway – a hefty 7% increase on last year.

Almost half of them say they speed on most journeys – compared to just 26% of private motorists.

And how fast are they going? For more than half of them, 80mph is their favoured limit on 70mph motorways, but 7% say 90mph is the speed they normally drive at. Both these figures, again, are on the up.

That’s why 71% are completely in favour of the speed limit going up to 80mph, reveals the RAC report – indeed, 60% say it’s “totally acceptable” to do 80 instead of 70.

The organisation’s corporate business sales director Jenny Powley called it a dangerous approach, and the risks associated with speeding far outweigh the time saved.

“Driving at 80mph instead of 70mph will only save you six seconds a mile, or 10 minutes over 100 miles.”

Company car drivers chasing the internal record for best fuel efficiency should also be aware of the effect speeding has. “According to the Department for Transport, driving at 80mph can use 25% more fuel than driving at 70mph, so this can have a significant impact on the business’ bottom line.”

And as it seems fleet car drivers are not changing their attitude to speeding, seeing it as more acceptable rather than less, Powley reminds company car managers that they have a solution – telematics. This allows fleet bosses to identify high risk drivers and train them to stop doing it.

“A key way in which companies can respond to this growing problem is to make the most of telematics technology to identify high risk drivers and journeys and use the data to inform their staff training.

Luckily, company car drivers do temper themselves in higher-risk situations. Only 5% exceed the 60mph limit on twisting country roads, and two thirds insist they remain fully within the urban speed limit even through 20mph zones.

Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speedInsurance companies are increasingly offering discounts in exchange for drivers fitting black boxes to their cars, providing them with information such as how often the car exceeds the speed limit, how fast it takes bends and if it’s regularly driven during peak hours.

Admiral is one such insurance company – and it’s been monitoring 300,000 of its policies to reveal the car makes and models most likely to break the speed limit.

Admiral’s Justin Beddows said: “It’s interesting how we can use our internal data to build up a picture of certain drivers, like how speeding is tied to certain car models. There’s definitely a trend in owners of more affordable cars being less likely to break the speed limit. The data doesn’t seek to tarnish certain drivers with the same brush, but rather show that these trends do exist.”

Mercedes-Benz C250Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

So which cars are the most likely to speed, according to Admiral? We’ve got the lowdown on the top 10, starting off with the Mercedes-Benz C250. Be prepared for a few German cars appearing…

Mitsubishi L200Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

This is a slightly surprising one. The pick-up truck isn’t the fastest vehicle on the roads, but the latest model will hit 62mph in 10.4 seconds. That’s quicker than some superminis.

Mercedes-Benz C220Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

A top 10 appearance for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Amusingly, the lesser-powered C220 is more likely to be driven above the speed limit than the C250.

BMW 535iRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

You know those stereotypes about BMW drivers? Apparently they’re all true – with BMWs appearing more than any other model in the top 10. The fairly rapid 535i is the car seventh most likely to be caught speeding.

Volvo V50Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

You’d associate the sensible Volvo V50 estate with mature, law-abiding motorists. But, when people aren’t looking, Volvo drivers apparently like to put their foot down. The black box never turns a blind eye.

Audi A5Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

It’s a view anyone who regularly drives on the motorway will be used to: an Audi badge in the rear-view mirror, a little close for comfort. No surprise, then, that the sleek Audi A5 coupe is one of the most likely cars to break the speed limit.

BMW M135iRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

Put a 320hp straight-six engine into a small 1 Series hatchback and what do you get? A car that likes to speed. The M135i can break the national single carriageway speed limit in less than 5.0 seconds.

BMW 420dRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

The diesel-powered 4 Series Coupe isn’t as fast as the M135i – but that doesn’t stop drivers breaking the speed limit more regularly. It boasts the third highest number of speeding offences out of any model.

Audi Q5Revealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

The only SUV to appear in the top 10, the Audi Q5 is more likely to break the speed limit than performance four-wheel-drives such as the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport.

Bentley Continental GTRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

So which car is most likely to speed? It’s the footballers’ favourite: the Bentley Continental GT. In V8 form, the 4.0-litre Bentley will hit 62mph in 4.8 seconds and can reach the dizzy heights of 188mph. Even with a black box fitted.

Fiat StiloRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

Now we’re onto the cars least likely to break the speed limit – and in 10th place is the Fiat Stilo. The stodgy family hatchback takes a tedious 13.8 seconds to reach 62mph in entry-level 1.2-litre form.

Ford StreetkaRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

If you’ve bought a Ford Streetka, you’d be better off dropping the roof and soaking up the rays than trying to get anywhere quickly. Its drivers aren’t that bothered about speeding, apparently.

Volkswagen LupoRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

The Volkswagen Lupo’s diminutive dimensions means it’s far from king of the road. But it is likely to be found driving below the speed limit.

Nissan PixoRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

Remember the short-run Nissan Pixo? The Suzuki Alto twin was targeted at an elderly audience, so it’s no surprise to find they rarely drive this city car fast.

Chevrolet MatizRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

It might have a Chevrolet badge, but that definitely doesn’t give the Matiz sporting credentials. It’s the sixth least likely car to break the speed limit.

Honda HR-VRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

The Honda HR-V is the slowest crossover on the block, apparently.

Daewoo KalosRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

We’re starting to notice a theme among the cars least likely to speed. The Daewoo Kalos (pictured here as a Chevy) takes fourth place…

Hyundai AmicaRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

…while the Hyundai Amica grabs third.

Fiat SeicentoRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

The Fiat Seicento is no longer made, but when it was, it was never the sturdiest city car on the market. Its drivers might be scared to drive one quickly, even though a warm(ish) Sporting variant was offered.

SEAT MiiRevealed: the cars most (and least) likely to speed

The car least likely to speed is the SEAT Mii, beating its Volkswagen and Skoda brethren. The popular (and very good) city car takes 14.4 seconds to hit 62mph in entry-level 60hp guise.

Speeding driver caught at 128mph in 30 limit

Speeding driver caught at 128mph in 30 limit!

Speeding driver caught at 128mph in 30 limit

Sussex Police caught a reckless driver exceeding the 30mph speed limit by a staggering 98mph in 2014, according to a Freedom of Information request by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

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Town centre speed limits

Law-abiding motorists caught out by fake road sign

Town centre speed limitsA number of motorists have reportedly been prosecuted after false 40mph signs were erected on a 30mph road near Rotherham.  Read more

Foreign drivers are dodging speeding fines in the UK

23,000 foreign drivers dodge UK speeding fines since 2013

23,000 foreign drivers escape speeding fines since Jan 2013

More than 23,000 foreign drivers have escaped speeding tickets in the UK since January 2013, equating to more than £23 million in unpaid fines.

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City road at night

Switched-off streetlights may create 30mph speed limit loophole warns lawyer

City road at nightPart-time streetlights could be invalidating 30mph speed limits and providing a legal loophole for speeding motorists, a top motoring lawyer has warned. Read more