Another speeding ticket question - France

Hi all, just wondering if anybody has any idea of what the time frame usually is for speeding tickets in France to find their way to US. I drove in France the whole month of July, it's now been 3 months and so far no mail from France. Any idea when I could consider myself "safe"? If I get one, I'll pay it - no problem with that. Just curious.

Posted by Crash
Vance, Alabama
146 posts

Hi Nancy, Your first hint will be a strangely coded charge on your credit card statement from the rental car company you used in France. I have seen 20€ to 30€ depending on the rental car company used. For example, Sixt or Eurocar will charge you 25€ on your card that you used in France as a fee to give your information to the French Police. Just continue to look carefully at your monthly statement on the credit card you used to rent the car. IMHO, you were not in Italy, so I think you will be "fine" on this one. ;-)

Posted by Connie
Everett, WA
913 posts

Nancy- We just returned from a 3 week driving trip in France in October. We can hold hands and wait together! I read on this board that rental car companies have "adjusted" the speedometers of their cars so that you are not going as fast as the odometer says. They don't like us getting tickets anymore than we do I guess. Our experience would confirm this. There were many "check your speed" machines along our route and they always showed we were going about 5-6 miles an hour slower than our odometer. Since we really were always trying to obey the posted speeds, that was an encouragement. (My complaint is that they don't "post the speed" enough!) The other things I have heard is that France is much more efficient at this than Italy. When we went to Italy in 2008, I knew it could be as much as 2 years. I never got one and really never thought about it once we were home. I knew we had made our best effort so...if it happened it happened. Overall, we loved having a car. We have driven a car on all 5 of our European vacations and never received a ticket. (It pays to go the speed limit). I am hoping some people who got tickets will say how long it took to receive them, but, like you, only because I am curious. I don't expect to get one, and if I do, I will pay it and return to drive another trip. (I got a ticket here in the states and did not give up driving, so I don't think a I would give it up because of a ticket in Europe) I have also heard people say they knew they were "zapped" at the time. I am also curious to know what they mean by that. We never felt we were "zapped". Can you sometimes tell at the time you have been caught? I know we have red light cameras in this area and you can see them "flash" when they take a picture. Hopefully you will get some more answers.

Posted by Kim
975 posts

Connie the flash that people have mentioned is exactly like the red-light cameras we have at home. France has installed numerous permanent machines to measure the speed of passing cars along its autoroutes (in fact, if you print your driving directions from, it shows you the speed traps along with the exits and turns!). When you pass one at excessive speed, it takes a picture and flashes at you.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11614 posts

Not all European speed cameras flash - most of the newest ones don't. Specs cameras use infrared light.

Posted by Mark
Berlin, Germany
330 posts

" I read on this board that rental car companies have "adjusted" the speedometers of their cars so that you are not going as fast as the odometer says." That's not a measure of rental car companies. According to ECE R-39 speedometers in the EU can't show less than the true speed, so you'll don't unintentionally break speed limits when trusting the speedometer. And even good speedometers aren't precision instruments, there's always an error of plus/minus two or three percent. So speedometers in Europe are generally calibrated to show 5% or so over the true speed to be on the safe side.

Posted by Connie
Everett, WA
913 posts

Thanks for the clarification Mark. I am not worried since we really do try to go the speed limit wherever we are (home or on vacation), but it is nice to have a little buffer.