Can anyone tell me if France uses cameras to ticket people? I received an invoice from Europcar that we have some kind of violation when we were in Normandy. I have been sending emails to to Europcar to get an explanation and finally heard from them. The notice said there were going to charge our credit card for $30 euros and would send us the ticket which we can dispute if we want. Has anyone had an experience with this?
About 500 times on this forum. Very common. It starts with the charge from the rental company for giving the police your information, then comes the ticket.
I got a parking ticket the other day "without seeing or talking to a policeman."
You were caught by a camera, you can dispute it if you want but it's fruitless when they have photographed your licence plate. Just consider it one last expense for your trip.
This happened to me two years ago. Yes, there are cameras. By the time the 2 tickets arrived, after the bills from Hertz, they had already entered the higher price range for being over 60 days late. I tried to pay online, never got the system to work. I suggest paying the tickets as soon as they arrive. Frustrating but you don't really have any recourse that I am aware of.
It's entirely normal, alas, for the rental company to send you a bill for the "service" of identifying the renter to the government. After all, if an airline can charge you for reserving a seat or for checking in at the airport, a rental company can put that in the contract you signed.
This week, residents of New York City protested the installation of speed cameras around some public schools. I was relieved that their elected representative replied, "You should get a ticket for speeding in front of a school." (I'm not accusing you of doing that, I'm only making the point that France is hardly, hardly alone in this practice. My Garmin claims to have a speed camera database, but I certainly wouldn't depend on it.
Enforcement of speed laws, restricted zone laws, bus lane laws etc is quite strict in Europe and done by camera most places. You will be lucky if there are not more tickets on their way. The grace on speeding is about 4 km per hour so it is important to drive the speed limit.
As noted, many places throughout Europe are VERY strict on moving violations and they are heavily enforced by camera. It is not unusual to get tickets after driving in Europe and the locals get them a lot. Some highways even calculate the time it takes you to travel from one sensor to another: too fast and it knows you are speeding and snaps your photo (this circumvents those that know where the cameras are and slow down temporarily). And your rental agency will charge you for each and every notice they get from the authorities to "process" sending them your contact information. Usually you get the tickets from the authorities directly.
Yep. Pay the ticket when it arrives -- I found the online French citation system easy to use, even had an English translation page. And welcome to the club of "been there, done that, got the ticket."
Can anyone tell me if France uses cameras to ticket people?
Yes, there are cameras all over French roads and autoroutes to catch people speeding. Squarish metal boxes on the verge or in the median.
Getting hit with a ticket is one of the reasons that driving is not an option in France. I just rather not bother with the hassle and the expense.
Or you could obey the law. That works too.
While that is unfortunate, tickets in France are given for the same reason as in the US... a violation of the law:(
Hopefully you loved your time driving around Normandy:)
We had read up on this before our trip last Oct-Nov......My hubby was sure I was exaggerating but then I showed him all the posts here about it.
We drove around Switzerland (1 day) Germany (1 day) Luxembourg (1day) and though Belgium to France where we drove for 13 days before heading into Paris. We stayed under the speed limit and did not get any tickets. One place I thought I had screwed up but I guess not. It was a lovely holiday. We found it relaxing not trying to rush everywhere. We took smaller roads most of the time and loved every minute. It can be done.
France is exceptionally bad for this.
There's no guarantee the ticket will ever arrive, it often doesn't. In that case you will never know what you supposedly did or where but still be required to pay the administrative fee anyway-- pure Kafka.
Of course they do! Who doesn't??? Go over to the Italy site and you will find a couple hundred similar posts. Hard to avoid the cameras. Bet your hometown does the same thing.
It is very easy to get a ticket in France so if you get one or a few it is ofcourse sorry for the money, but law enforcement is very strict and there are so many various speed limits, sometimes on places you don’t expect, it is easy to make a mistake. Just coming back from my week trip in France and it is possible I will receive one or two speeding tickets, but hopefully it will be false alarm. Usually law enforcement about speed is purely administrative.
I have a friend who lives in Fort Mac, Alberta, and she is forever getting photo radar speeding tickets in the mail - you think she would learn! So it's not just European countries...
Bet your hometown does the same thing.
Bet they don't. Enforcement cameras are rare in the US, even un-(state)-constitutional in many if not most states.
here are so many various speed limits, sometimes on places you don’t
expect, it is easy to make a mistake
Very honest observation! If you drive large distances in France you will probably get one. Live like a local!
Pan around the world Note that most of the US ones are only for school or construction zones, not for everyday speed or red light enforcement.
Tell that to the people who live in New Orleans, Louisiana...
"Bet they don't. Enforcement cameras are rare in the US..."
Interesting link, Tom. Plenty of red light cams here in Ventura, CA, and Los Angeles, Santa Monica, etc. None in Santa Barbara..interesting. Lots in New Orleans, though fines appear to be far less than in my neck of the woods. And none in Minnesota-Wisconsin!
For all the people going on about how inevitable it is to get a ticket in France, I want to point out that my husband and I, with a combined ninety (90 yikes) years of driving in France, have never gotten a ticket. He learned in Paris in the sixties, while I got my French license in the seventies. Admittedly, we are slow drivers, the plodders everyone passes.
^^^ Plodders unite! I'm the guy doing 60 mph on the freeway in the slow lane. I gained my appreciation for relatively slow speeds from my dad, he was once cited for doing 45 on the freeway-in the fast lane. There's a ton of reasons to slow down, from stress to dollars to death.
I once got pulled over delivering ice cream west of Boston, MA, for going 15 miles an hour. He said it was too fast. It was in a blizzard and my Ford Pinto with chains was faster than his jeep (or whatever 4x4 it was). No ticket after he saw the 15 gallons of ice cream.
One of our other stores had run out because the trucks couldn't get through, so I was helping them stay open.
I have been driving since before 1970, never had a ticket either side of the ocean. But I am not a plodder. I tend to run at or just above any speed limit, country roads (my favourite) or motorway. I put around 5,000 miles on the car in Europe each year, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco and Netherlands. I tend to run in the middle or fast lane, especially in the UK, France and Germany. Never run in the fast lane in Luxembourg (those 4 number licence plates will run you over in their BMW SUVs) or in Belgium (I want to live to tell the tale, and they are just plain nuts on the road).
But honestly - never a ticket.
It does help to have cruise control (and use it), an excellent GPS (Sat Nav), and a good understanding of the national speed limits and rules of the road.
Favourite 2 countries to drive in? France, because the autoroutes a péage are so smooth and easy to navigate (and have 130 kph in good weather (and they always announce the speed cameras)), and Germany. Germany, not because of the unlimited speed in areas (where I don't want to push my 10 year old car with high speed tyres much over 180 kph) but because of the German culture of always (nearly always) obeying laws. I love that when I slow to 50 kph at a village limit sign, so does everybody else around me, when the autobahn slows to 80 for construction everybody does, and when the road opens out, everybody does that too. You can even get an Oma to shout at you if they perceive that you have stepped over the line a millimetre.
......Enforcement cameras are rare in the US, even un-(state)-constitutional in many if not most states....... What is the support for that claim? Why would they be unconstitutional? Red light camera are common in Chicago and I can speak from experience. For the past three years the Colorado legislature has tried to banned local authorities from using camera enforcement. The governor just vetoed the latest attempt. Denver has roving white, non-descript, vans that just park at random along the side of the street and takes pictures for speeding. At least in Colorado camera enforce is very common and very permitted under the state constitution.
......Enforcement cameras are rare in the US, even un-(state)-constitutional in many if not most states....... What is the support for that claim? Why would they be unconstitutional?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_light_camera#United_States_2: "In states such as Wisconsin, the ban comes from decisions by state supreme courts declaring that the cameras were unconstitutional."
Enforcement cameras are on shaky ground legally because you are fined because of ownership, there's no proof who was driving.
I believe that each state must specifically authorize their use with a special law else they are not legal.
The jury is out on whether they make roads safer. Studies have shown that in areas with red light cameras people slam on the breaks at intersections to avoid being photographed leading to more crashes.
The cameras are all about the revenue, they are owned and installed by vendors who keep 40% of the take.
Also to above: France stopped signing enforcement camera locations many years ago.
Tom_MN: Enforcement cameras are on shaky ground legally because you are fined because of ownership, there's no proof who was driving.
Our small town in Oregon has both red light cameras and photo-radar vans. Tom of MN is certainly welcome to visit, violate and test the constitutionality of the radar photo citations. That said, here in Medford we give drivers a sporting chance with signs warning of radar and photo enforcement. The mobile radar photo van even is required to place a portable sign a specified distance from the van. If you do the crime be prepared to pay the fine.
France stopped signing enforcement camera locations many years ago.
I know that whenever my sat nav tells me that I am in a French dangerous area, it isn't long before I see the official sign by the side of the road and then the little gray box with the yellow stripes around the edge - camera.
Maybe not 100% of the time, but almost always. It breaks up the journey to play "find the camera" after the sign is up. And, as I said, I've never had a ticket.
Classic example when you have a bias and cherry pick your data. The same argument has been used extensively in Colorado but is slightly flawed for not giving a complete picture.
...Studies have shown that in areas with red light cameras people slam on the breaks at intersections to avoid being photographed leading to more crashes.......
The same studies will also show that number of serious accidents, fatality is reduced because you don't have T-bone, head-on type of accidents that result in serious injuries. Maybe an increase to front to rear accidents but that rarely kills anyone. However, the argument as a money maker, especially for small towns, has merit. But small towns, often rural, have been known for years as speed traps. Just getting more efficient.
A similar argument can be make for the introductions of roundabouts in the US. More sideswiping accidents but fewer head ons and t-bones. Only if Americans could learn to drive properly in roundabouts.
Traffic cameras are plentiful in the US so there is nothing unique about them
Or not, depending on which place you live. I could say "Somalis are plentiful in the US" because that's what I see every day.
Summary: I know people who have received enforcement camera tickets in France and Italy, but I don't know anyone who has received them in the US ( or any other European country).
I know someone in the US who has received one. He lives in DC, which has lots of them. You can hear the click as you go through what you thought was a yellow light.
Just googled a picture of "radar de vitesse"; no way you are going to argue your way out of that ticket. Just pay the fine and move on. As for the constitutionality of red light camera etc.; it takes a lot of $$$ to argue the concept in multiple courts. You are better off voting in a new set of representatives to change the law. That is what happened in Houston with the red light cameras. Of course every surrounding town still has them and they are active!
We had plenty of them for a few years in my city, and in St Louis as well. Their legality was challenged and a state court case invalidated the existing municipal statutes enforcing them. But their use was not categorically prohibited in my state, it just meant that cities had to come up with better, enforceable rules. So far they haven't because of considerable public opposition by those who believe that everything is allowed if you don't get caught.
I got one in So Cal running a "yellow" turn signal. I not only saw the citation with a picture of the light color with my car turning on red, but so did all my office as my secretary taped it to my door when she opened my mail! So they are out there everywhere. Car rental company charged me just like they do on tickets from Europe. (Mine was a parking ticket in Switzerland).
I've been photo ticketed for speed in DC, and I know they use them in Maryland as well. In DC, I got a ticket in the mail for going 61 on a highway, the speed limit was 50. I grew up in California where the basic speed law is 55 unless otherwise posted, I wouldn't have dreamed the speed would be lower than 55 on a divided road with on-ramps and exits.
After that I started paying more attention. Not only did I discover that DC can have 35 mph limits on freeways but I also noticed every time I saw a speed camera, the speed limit was 5 mph lower than what my GPS showed (somewhat old maps).
I don't mind the law enforcement aspect of tickets. I do get irked that it seems to be more about revenue. Speed limit signs are often hidden or missing on the east coast. If speed limits are about safety, the limit should be clearly posted.