Please sign in to post.

Alleged Traffic Citation in France

I just received an email from Alamo/Enterprise alleging a road violation in France at the end of June this year. This is the first I've heard of it as I was never stopped by any police person nor did I find any parking notice on the car. The citation lists the infraction type as a "General Violation." The email looks legitimate and does have my license information right. Anyone ever experience this or have a recommendation? Thanks.

Posted by
8889 posts

A common complaint on this forum. There is no requirement for the police to stop you at the time. The offence was probably recorded by a camera, typically this is speeding, jumping a red light or driving in a restricted zone. The latter (restricted zone) is common in Italy, less so in France but they do exist.

The usual sequence is a charge from the rental company for providing your details to the police, followed later by the actual fine from the police. What you may have is just the rental company charge, which would not show the actual offence (they aren't told). Expect the second to follow, probably in French.

Posted by
5757 posts

Quite common in many countries around the world. Most likely you got caught speeding by a camera or other automated system.

Unless you're planning to be back there (in person) at the time they specify to contest it, and you have some iron-clad proof you were innocent (good luck with that, it's hard to refute electronic evidence - I believe France applies the "Napoleonic Code" theory that you are guilty until proven innocent), and you speak French very well, you're probably out of luck.

Posted by
7702 posts

I'm sure it's true and accurate. You were caught by a camera.

Posted by
1775 posts

Yup ; worst part is that is the lesser of 2 charges you have incoming.

1st is the notice from the Rental Car company that you are being charged $25 or similar amount to your credit card for their paperwork time of submitting your information to the authorities.

2nd will be the actual ticket that is no doubt coming to you from the Police. Expect that amount to be higher in cost though not taken out of your credit card.

I am in the same situation ; though I did not receive an email ; I did receive a letter in the mail from Hertz and they did take $25 out of my credit card. Maybe it was 20 Euros.
Waiting on my ticket same as you but I do recall a situation beginning of July I was driving late at night with no other cars in Provence small town area I was crossing a bridge and saw a blink of light about half way across the bridge. I immediately thought speed camera just caught me speeding and took my picture.

Recommendation: sit and wait for the actual ticket to arrive. Unfortunately you don't have much of a choice other than paying the ticket when it does come.

Posted by
4171 posts

A few years ago I received 3 tickets in Germany (speeding, running a light, and parking) and was notified by Avis for each one. Cost, €15 for each notification. The €5 parking ticket was paid while still in Germany and the running the light was paid after I received an official letter from the municipality. I never heard from the other municipality. The rental car agency provided your contact information, so just sit back and wait for a letter to arrive. That could take a couple months. If you can pay the fine online, you may get a discounted fine. That’s how paying a ticket worked when I got a speed camera ticket in Spain. A €100 fine was reduced to €50 if paid within a certain amount of time.

Posted by
1240 posts

I received two photo radar offences when that particular money grab existed in Ontario. The charge is sent to the owner of the vehicle in any country - in your case the car rental company - as there is no way of ascertaining who the driver was at the time. If you received an attachment with an official copy of the infraction, best to pay up.

Posted by
5697 posts

Good news -- France is well organized so your official ticket will be along soon, with instructions how to pay it online. Recommendation: pay it as soon as it arrives, to avoid escalation of the fine amount. (We got a camera-generated speeding ticket within an hour of picking up the car in Orly -- but none on two later rentals in France.)

Posted by
5757 posts

We got a camera-generated speeding ticket within an hour of picking up the car in Orly -- but none on two later rentals in France

At least not yet...

Posted by
682 posts

Not a money grab. If you got caught on camera there is a fine. They are there for safty of all road users, not just car drivers.

Posted by
8293 posts

I love the OP's use of the word "alleged". I have never received such a ticket but since he asks for a recommendation, I say "Pay it".

Posted by
2916 posts

since he asks for a recommendation, I say "Pay it".

He can't. He hasn't received a ticket, just notification from the rental agency. If he tried to use one of the links provided, he wouldn't get anywhere, since he won't have the ticket number.

Posted by
1240 posts

"Not a money grab." - I disagree. A fine for doing 109 km/h on an empty 100 km/h five lane highway at two in the morning is nothing more than a money grab. I'd say it's a rather devious way of obtaining money. I can understand school zones and such, perhaps certain time periods on highways, but 9 km/h over the limit at two in the morning on an empty highway? It's unclear to me what danger I was causing to myself or to others. The biggest suprise to me was that I did not even reach 110 km/h to be ticketed. My other ticket was for 111 km/h at roughly the same time of day.

Posted by
682 posts

9 km over or 90 km over it doesnt matter, you are still braking the speed limit. The road being empty has nothing to do with it.

Posted by
2916 posts

9 km over or 90 km over it doesnt matter,

It certainly does. A big difference in punishment, a big difference in danger to society.

Posted by
3493 posts

It doesn't matter if it was even only 1 km over the limit -- you were over the limit, you got a ticket. There is no "except for 2 in the morning" in the law.

Was it from a camera or an actual police? Doesn't matter because the law allows for camera fines.

Just pay it.

Even in the US there is no 10% rule for allowing you to be in excess of the posted limit. It's just that here are usually more people going more than 10% over the limit so the cops can choose who to ticket.

Posted by
1240 posts

"There is no "except for 2 in the morning" in the law." - I was hoping there was.

"Was it from a camera or an actual police?" - Camera, please read above. I'm pretty certain the police would not have bothered chasing after me à la Smokey and The Bandit. R.I.P. Burt.

"Just pay it." - I did, please read above. Twice.

In actuality, laws should be changed to accommodate different times and volumes of traffic flow on highways. A 100 km/h limit should not exist in the middle of the night when highways are near empty. I thinks I'll start me a movement for change. 'More sense but less revenue', how's that for a slogan?

As for all the Javerts of the world, I suggest they hand themselves over to the police if they drive one mile an hour over the limit, or line up outside the confessional if they really feel guilty about it. I'm not going to become a flagellant over a minor speeding transgression.

Posted by
2333 posts

This is one of the issues I have with Americans who are adamant about driving in Europe, especially because they can "go as fast as they want" on the autobahn. I don't think that's true anymore, but whatever.

Every time we drive in Europe, we end up with 1 or more tickets. In the US, there is the informal "no ticket if under 10 MPH over the limit". I have no idea if that is true in various European countries. Plus in many European countries alcohol limits are quite low - even drinking 2 glasses of wine with dinner may put you over. All in all, it is often better to take public transport. If you have kids, it's probably better to have the car, but if you are traveling as adults, I think there's a lot of reasons to use the fine public transit systems in Europe.

Add to that the hassle of possible accidents, it's even more sensible to do trains/buses.

One more issue - there are subtle differences in road signage, which make it hard to make decisions at highway speed. In the US, you see a sign when you are at Interstate speed, and you can make the decision. In France, we found this much more challenging.

Posted by
174 posts

Always fascinating to see people on this board rally to the defense of unmanned cameras and against their fellow human beings. Because technology is infallible, always calibrated 100% accurate, always managed correctly and never put in place by municipalities looking for easy revenue streams, or something./sarc

To quote The Simpsons:
"I for one welcome our new robot overlords!"

Sincerely,
A guy who has spent months fighting 4 automated ZTL camera violations from an Italian town, because the local police dropped the ball and neglected to add his license # to the approved "white list", even though they received the required prior notification in writing from the landlord, who has been following the same process for years on behalf of his renters, with never a problem, until now.

Posted by
1220 posts

Even in the US there is no 10% rule for allowing you to be in excess of the posted limit. It's just that here are usually more people going more than 10% over the limit so the cops can choose who to ticket.

Actually Florida law doesn't permit speeding tickets for less than 5mph over in most cases to allow for speedometer miscalibration issues. (Florida Statute 318.18 exception- if you're in a school zone or construction zone, there is no warning speed allowance)

Posted by
682 posts

Ok i must what is the point of having a speed limit if there is then a grey area of 10 kmph? Arent all the drrivers braking it by 11 or 12kmph then going to start winning that its 'not fair'?

Posted by
430 posts

A fine for doing 109 km/h on an empty 100 km/h five lane highway at two in the morning is nothing more than a money grab

So let's see, how many factors should we mix into the equation?
Time? What about 5 in the morning? 5:30? When should the rules change and how many gradations should we work in? Maybe from 5 to 6 the speed limit should be raised and the fine should only be 50% of daytime hours. Should the rules change every hour? Every 3 hours?
What about day of the week?
Lanes? What about 4 lanes instead of 5? What about 2 lanes? Should the fine be doubled if it's a 2 lane road or halved if it's a 4 lane road?
Empty highway? How close does the nearest vehicle have to be for the rules to change?
Proximity of the nearest house or business? Type of business? Average traffic pattern on that road at that time of day/ day of week?
What if you're a better driver than most? What should your exemption be for that? And however you calculate "better driver", let's don't use traffic ticket history, right?
I once knew a man who argued that the speed limit shouldn't apply to him because he had an expensive German sports car, engineered to take turns at high speeds. Should we calculate type of car into "the law doesn't apply to me" formula?
Cameras versus live police? Do you really believe that either system eliminates these types of arguments?

For goodness sake, just accept that things are done differently in other countries.You went to France (or wherever you go on vacation) precisely because it's not home. This is one of the things that are different. Vive la difference.

Posted by
1775 posts

In the US ; at least in the state of Massachusetts speeding is a total grey area.
I routinely (like every day) go past police watching traffic going 75 MPH on a 55 MPH highway.
In general I have found if you are going over 80 they will often pull you over ; does not matter if a 55 or a 65 ; 80 seems to be the magic number.

That said on any random day they may decide to give you a ticket so you never really know and if I got a ticket for going less than 75 on a US highway I would be quite upset.
If they installed speed cameras here on the highways and ticket for a few MPH over automatically there would be serious uproar.
The 55 MPH limits on many highways are a total joke ; you can cause backups and accidents if you actually drive less than 55 which is supposed to be the limit.

In Europe many game the system. They know where the speed cameras are so you speed up between cameras and then slow down as you approach one. Renders them much less effective and because they have these cameras everywhere, police are tasked with other things other than giving speeding tickets so you don't really have the worry as you might in the US of an officer hiding behind a bend checking cars with radar.
Different country, different system ; not complaining just pointing out some differences.

Posted by
1220 posts

Ok i must what is the point of having a speed limit if there is then a grey area of 10 kmph?

The Florida 'less than 5mph' law in most cases is because of the possibility of speedometer errors and calibration issues. Too many cases of people doing something like having their car say they're going 54 in a 55 zone and the cop's radar gun says they're going 57. And the state decided that good faith efforts to comply with the speed limit should not be punished, and they were going to give a buffer unless there was a real safety need to keep it extra strict (ie. school and construction zones)

I've noticed that when we've got the GPS/sat nav running, it will commonly show 1-2 mph difference in speed than the car's speedometer.

Posted by
2916 posts

I routinely (like every day) go past police watching traffic going 75 MPH on a 55 MPH highway.

mreynolds, you must commute on 128.

Posted by
3493 posts

Gundersen, my comments were not specifically to you, especially the "Just pay it". It is in general to those who come here and whine about it not being fair that a cop did not stop them yet they got a ticket. I feel that getting a ticket from a speed camera is a lot less impartial than getting stopped by the police. Cops are human and if they are not having a great day might decide to take it out on the drivers by issuing tickets that might not be justified. Or they can make mistakes and ticket the wrong driver because they misinterpreted the radar gun reading. Are machines infallible? Of course not.

Posted by
4740 posts

Plus in many European countries alcohol limits are quite low - even drinking 2 glasses of wine with dinner may put you over.

Even less may put you over the limit. In Sweden, the limit is .02%. That is less than a glass for most people. In France it is .05%.

Posted by
21307 posts

The Swedes don't fool around. Slightly over the limit and you can go to prison for 6 months.

Posted by
430 posts

Some years back, Connecticut was a zero tolerance state for speeding. I used to drive there to visit relatives and they'd always remind me that you could get a ticket for any amount in excess of the speed limit, no matter how small. There were plenty of roadside signs reminding you of this.

Posted by
1259 posts

I don't think speeding fines are a money grab, but even if they were would that be a bad thing?

Governments need money in order to pay for the things that make a country or region civilised - hospitals, public transport, cultural venues, even roads. If a small proportion of that can be raised by fines on speeding criminals and other miscreants, then isn't that a good idea? It makes a small contribution to support those of us taxpayers who are decent and law-abiding.

Of course the villain will whinge if caught. But that is no reason to change the rules.

Posted by
1775 posts

Blockquote
I routinely (like every day) go past police watching traffic going 75 MPH on a 55 MPH highway.

mreynolds, you must commute on 128.

Blockquote

Yes ; 128 and Rt 3 most every day 55 miles each way :(

Posted by
1220 posts

I don't think speeding fines are a money grab, but even if they were would that be a bad thing?

There are times when moving violation citations cause more problems than they solve. Setting a yellow light shorter at a traffic light that has an enforcement camera in hopes of increasing revenue actually can lead to more accidents at the intersection because more people slam on the brakes hard when they see it go yellow rather than going for a slower and safer deceleration, and the brake-slamming leads to more chain reaction rear end collision events.

Posted by
401 posts

There are times when moving violation citations cause more problems than they solve. Setting a yellow light shorter at a traffic light that has an enforcement camera in hopes of increasing revenue actually can lead to more accidents at the intersection because more people slam on the brakes hard when they see it go yellow rather than going for a slower and safer deceleration, and the brake-slamming leads to more chain reaction rear end collision events.

My, what an active imagination some have!

Posted by
1240 posts

"A fine for doing 109 km/h on an empty 100 km/h five lane highway at two in the morning is nothing more than a money grab" - Precisely.

"Time? What about 5 in the morning? 5:30?" - No, only one minute at a time would be unrealistic. I'm thinking 10:00pm to 5:00am for a trial run. See how it goes after that.

"Should the rules change every hour? Every 3 hours?" - No, please see above for my suggestion.

"What about day of the week?" - Every day. I am nothing but a fair man, I treat all days of the week with equal respect.

"Lanes? What about 4 lanes instead of 5? What about 2 lanes?" - Two laned roads do not have 100km/h limits where I live. You did not mention three laned roads, which no doubt feel left out. Three and above seems reasonable to me, providing the limit is 100km/h.

"Empty highway? How close does the nearest vehicle have to be for the rules to change?" - Traffic volume is commonly far less during the hours stated above. Freeways were built to manage the free flow of traffic at high speeds. You can receive a snap shot for doing 106km/h. If a person is a danger to others driving at 106km/h on a free flowing major highway then that person should not be driving.

"Proximity of the nearest house or business? Type of business?" - Major highways do not have houses and businesses lining their borders where I live.

"What if you're a better driver than most?" - I believe I am, like most people do.

"Should we calculate type of car into "the law doesn't apply to me" formula?" - That's your idea, not mine. Personally, I don't think it will fly. Like days of the week, makes of car should be treated equally.

"Cameras versus live police?" - This is the main gist of my arguement and, yes, there is a major, major difference. I doubt very much that I would receive a speeding ticket for doing 106 or even 111 on a 100 limit road. Can't argue with the camera though. There's been a case of one man receiving a ticket (photo radar, naturally) for doing 101 on a 100 limit road.

"For goodness sake, just accept that things are done differently in other countries." - I do. I was referring to my own country. I have never received a ticket driving in Europe.

"You went to France" - No, I did not. Well, not recently.

"Vive la difference" - Exactement. We have a difference of opinion. I am not referring to school zones or traffic lights. And in no way am I advocating breaking the law, just changing it gently and for the better.
.
Nick - "speeding criminals" - are you speaking of bank robbers evading the police in Spain? Simple speeding is not a criminal offense where I live, fortunately. Not sure about Sweden though.

I've been on the Cape for two weeks, cars bombing past me up hwy 6 all the time. I'm guessing German cars.

As for Mark, no hard feelings, I sometimes get carried away. All the best, sincerely.

Posted by
8848 posts

I've been on the Cape for two weeks, cars bombing past me up hwy 6 all the time. I'm guessing German cars.

They are going so fast you cannot ID them?... WOW

When I was in Italy getting passed, I could at least glimpse whether it was 4 rings or a tristar that was sucking the paint off the left side of my car


The email looks legitimate and does have my license information right. Anyone ever experience this or have a recommendation?

No personal experience, but unless the date/location of the infraction is when you did not have the car or a location you were not at, and can prove it, then paying the fine when the actual ticket arrives is the correct course of action

Posted by
401 posts

No imagination, just research that shows some things are more complex than first assumed.

The imagination part was the conspiracy about shortening yellow light times.

Posted by
8411 posts

Gundersen, I agree with you completely. Revenue-generating, money grab.
A good driver going 10 mph over a freeway speed limit is less dangerous than an incompetent driver going 10 mph under the speed limit.

Posted by
28121 posts

In the Community Guidelines (click just below) we are encouraged to stay on topic.

Has anybody got advice for our question poster?

Posted by
3936 posts

Our town has a lot of different length yellow lights. I know which ones stay yellow longer so I can speed up to get thru if I have the room, and which ones are short so I know to stop. Some seem to stay yellow for 3-4 sec, others seem to be upwards of 8-10 sec.

As for speeds on the highway - Nova Scotia is pretty liberal with the highway speeds....the general rule is if you are doing about 118-120 on the 110 series highway, you aren't going to get pulled over- because invariably, there are people doing 125-130 who are the ones who get (rightly) targeted. We usually set the cruise to 118 or so, and we pass people doing the limit, but we also get passed by plenty of people going faster. No speed cameras here.

The worst here tho is the non-twinned highways that give you passing lanes every so often. Limit is 100kmh, and someone will be toodling along at 95, then I swear as soon as they hit the passing lane, they zoom up to 115, and the 20 cars that got backed up behind them have to put the pedal to the metal to get around. Passing lane ends, back down to 95.

Mreynolds - I always laugh when I think about our 1st trip to the states - father in law was like - follow the speed limits, speed traps everywhere! So when we hit Mass, we're doing 55 (which I think was the limit back then) and people are just flying around us. I think the only vehicles we passed were the transport trucks.

Posted by
1240 posts

"They are going so fast you cannot ID them?... WOW" - Joe, the passing cars were so fast I thought I was in a superhero movie. Like a thousand Clark Kents whizzing past me, one after the other. And have you considered that those cars which were sucking paint off yours in Italy may have been armed with Dyson motors engines? I've read about them, very powerful.

Oh, in my excitement I forgot to mention that photo radar was dismantled in my province shortly after my second ticket. It was a popular move.

"Has anybody got advice for our question poster?" - Nigel, I did give advice in my first post.

Posted by
25 posts

This is absolutely amazing! I asked about a recommendation concerning an unspecified citation in France and the forum on this subject turned into practically a diatribe on speeding tickets in Europe and the US. And I don't even know if mine is for speeding. In a few of the earliest posts the advice was to get over it and pay it which is my plan. As to the rest of the posts re. speeding, my response is the limits are the law. So, despite anyone's feeling about it being OK to exceed the limit at 2AM wherever, or that it's a money grab, the law is the law. So everyone, me included, slow down, obey the law, and help ensure your safety as well at that of others on the road. Thanks to all who provided meaningful input.

Posted by
1240 posts

"despite anyone's feeling about it being OK to exceed the limit at 2AM wherever" - If I may, seeing as you raised the point of clarification, I did not actually say that. I was not advising anyone to exceed the speed limit at two in the morning by saying it was OK, I opined that I believe it safe for speed limits to be officially raised to a reasonable level at certain times of the day on major highways. There is a difference. And I certainly did not use the word "wherever", which implies any type of road.

Posted by
1775 posts

My take: Op asked a question
He/she was answered very quickly with accurate information.
The post continued on and off topic but remained up near the top of the thread which is helpful since the OP's question is a common one.

OP then is upset they got their question quickly answered with good information because the post continued for so long? Time to get over yourself, many post questions that never get an answer. A thank you and move on would have been the proper response.

Posted by
25 posts

I finally received my citation from the French authorities. As many of you had suggested, it was in fact a speeding violation (138 km/hr) in a 130 km/hr zone via camera. The postmark showed it was mailed in France on 30.08.18. I received it on 25.09.18 so it took almost 4 weeks to reach me. Fortunately, their was a web address on the citation so I went there to investigate my options. English was one of the language options so I was able to easily understand my options. Since there is no doubt the citation is legitimate, I opted to pay immediately via Visa card on line. The whole process was simple and quick. I printed a copy of my transaction and asked for a receipt to be sent to me via email. I've recounted this process here in case anyone else out there has a similar experience and may benefit from this information. My thanks to all who answered my original question or who offered suggestions.

Posted by
5697 posts

Glad you got it worked out with minimal trauma at the end.

Posted by
28121 posts

thanks for the feedback. Glad it worked out relatively painlessly.