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Information about speed cameras and penalties in France – the web magazine for visitors to France.

speed cameras and penalties – driving in France

Speed cameras, and penalties – Driving in France

Strikes and fuel supplies in France

January 4th 2012 – Satnav no longer showing speed cameras. Satnavs and other technical equipment are no longer allowed to show the position of speed cameras or warn drivers. The ban was introduced on January 4th 2012. Drivers face a fine of up to 1,500 euro if caught. My TomTom (on iPhone) has just updated (April) with all the speed camera warning removed. However TomTom say they now offer a "warnings zone" download.

tomtom satnav – TomTom Satnav.

Speed cameras are not as common in France compared with the U.K. However, where you see a sign warning you that they are in the area, they can usually be seen almost straight after the sign. Smaller ones are now being used, and they are not at the side of the road as they use to be, but often in the middle of the motorway.

Regular checks by French motorway Police are carried out, should you be caught by a speed camera you may get away with the fine, but if stopped by a mobile patrol, you will have to pay the fine there and then.

In Calais there is one on the way to Cite Europe (coming from the port), if going to Adinkerke, watch out for the one at the entrance to Dunkirk, and on the way back. Speed limits around towns are usually 110 km per hour.

Most fines in France have to be paid on the spot, you may find yourself taken to a bank to get some money if you do not have any. Frequent use of mobile radars catches many people out. It really is advisable to stick to the speed limits in France now.

September 2009 – Fines over 70 euro can now be collected from foreigners.

Busy times this summer – weekends to avoid

Diesel is cheaper in France and Belgium (less so). If you are visiting or passing through Luxembourg it has some of the lowest prices in Europe. With a bit of planning you can save quite a bit. I personally aim to arrive in France on empty, and fill up at a Calais Hypermarket. Unleaded is more expensive though.

TOP TIPRadar detectors are illegal in France – they will be confiscated even if switched off, and you will be fined.

Speed cameras in the United Kingdom

Travel Insurance tips and CompaniesTravel insuranceBreakdown Insurance

French speed cameras

French Speed Cameras

Speed cameras, some hidden in cars, are becoming more common in France. Many are fixed but not all of them. Watch out for speed cameras on the autoroutes. Unlike the United Kingdom where they are generally in residential areas, in France the opposite is true.

There are also speed cameras in the Calais area now, and fines are enforced if the driver is from the United Kingdom.

– Controle Radar. French radar control site – check before you go. Look at the menu marked "technology" – full of useful information.

Ministry of Ecology and Energy – list of new speed cameras in France.

Watch out for;

1) Northbound on the A16 between Boulogne and Calais near Junction 37 opposite Aire des Deux caps. Speed limit 130km/hour.

2) Northbound on the N43 between St Omer and Calais near the village of Bayenghem-lès-Eperlecques. Speed limit 70km/hour.

speed cameras france

Speed limit in France

Toll motorways 130km/h (80 mph), wet 110km/h (70 mph)

Non Toll Motorways, two lane roads and single lanes separated by an island; 110km/h (70 mph), and 100 km/h when raining

Regional roads including Route National 90km/h (55 mph) and 80 km/h when raining

Built up areas 50km/h (30 mph) – the town name starts the limit, a bar through the town name marks the end of the limit.

Any time when visibility less than 50 metres: 50km/h

The French Government have recently begun a serious crackdown on bad driving. Any foreign driver caught doing 25km more than the official speed limit will suffer the immediate loss of their licence. Other speeders will have to pay a heavy fine immediately.

If you have recently passed your driving test, please note that in France you cannot exceed 90km/h for the first two years after passing your test.

You cannot drive in France until you are 18.

Normally, Police station a "hidden" car on a bridge or in a lay-by about 5km from a toll gate. However speed cameras, some hidden in cars are becoming more common. ON-THE-SPOT fines are the order of the day. If you cannot pay immediately your car can be impounded. They can monitor your speed by checking the times on the ticket. They only issue tickets if you are a resident of that country. Other European Countries

– French radar control site. Check it out before you go. Look at the menu marked "technology" – full of useful information.

French Police often use radar guns to catch unwary motorists.

From the French Government –

Use of radar detectors in France

Radar detectors illegal in France – they will be confiscated even if switched off, and you will be fined (750 euro!)

It is not good enough to switch it off, or put it in the boot, mere possession in France is illegal. If you are unlucky enough to be caught with a radar detector you will face a fine of up to 1,500 euro, lose two licence points and may have your car confiscated.

Penalties – France

Speeding and other traffic offences are subject to on-the-spot fines. Police collect fines on the spot. Since 2004 penalties have increased substantially and are being enforced more vigorously – be careful (90% of drivers stopped recently outside Calais on the autoroute were English).

For other fines a 30% reduction for minor offences may be granted if paid on the spot or within 24 hours. If you feel you are not at fault, you will be asked to pay a deposit (amende forfaitaire). A receipt must be issued showing the amount paid. Similar rules exist in Belgium.

In general you will be expected to pay any fine on the spot. If you cannot you may be escorted to the nearest bank machine.

If you need to pay a fine, you can pay by cheque or with a "timbre" (stamp) which can be bought at a Tabac. Keep a receipt as proof of payment.

If you are caught travelling at more than 20 kph above the speed limit you may be fined 68 euro and lose a licence point.

Fines are much more sever if you are caught driving 30kph or more above the speed limit – you may have your licence confiscated on the spot. At 50kph above the speed limit, you may have your car impounded and receive a 1,500 euro fine.

The average fine is about 135 euro. Ranging from 750 euro (Exceeding limit by between 20 – 40km/h), to 1,500 euro (50km/h more than limit).

Drink driving – For drink driving offences, if the alcohol level is between 0.05 to 0.08, the fine is 135 euro (maximum fine 4,500 euro). Driving whilst under the influence of drugs is not advisable and certainly not in France where very high penalties are levied.

Mobile phone use while driving carries a 35 euro fine and the driver can lose two points.

Paying a fine.

The fines.

European law regarding enforcement of traffic fines

Until recently if you incurred a fine for a traffic offence in many European countries it was unlikely you would have to pay it, especially if you were caught by a speed camera. Mobile traffic patrols are still a regular feature of French controls however. In an effort to crack down on avoidance, the authorities may now seize vehicles.

From October 1st 2009 cross border fines enforcement started.

The issues of enforcement of traffic fines between member states has been discussed in the E.U. Parliament (2008) but the proposals await final approval by the Commission. This link shows the discussions which have taken place and progress of any directives. /

2010 – It looks like this proposed legislation will become law and Europe wide in the next few years.

United Kingdom enforcement is based on an administrative process, with ultimate enforcement through the normal process for the enforcement of civil judgments. There are limited criminal sanctions in some areas.

The United Kingdom has a system of traffic legislation that has developed incrementally, local authorities can opt to enforce minor traffic laws via decriminalised legislation or they can leave enforcement in the hands of the police using criminal law.

The French system of enforcement is based on criminal and administrative law. There is no congestion charging and comparatively fewer minor offences than other countries.

France's system of traffic enforcement is based on criminal and administrative law known as the Code de la Route. Local police forces are empowered by departments and communes to issue traffic fines, which are then enforced in the same way as judicial decisions. If a person does not pay a traffic fine then their assets can be seized. Seizure can be challenged in a civil court.

– More about European enforcement of traffic laws.

– Who shares information with whom? EUCARIS is a communications network which allows participating countries to exchange data relating to motor vehicles and driving licences. EUropean CAR and driving licence Information System.

United Kingdom Company that collects fines incurred by foreigners.

– Controle Radar, from the French Government.

Speed Limits in European Countries (kilometres / hour)


Main Roads Open Road



Main Roads Open Road



130 100



120 90 60


120 90



120/110 80


France (when wet)

130 (110)

110 (90)



120/100 90



none 100



120/100 90



120/110 90



130/110 90



120 80


Useful Outside links

Speed cameras in France

– Controle Radar. French radar control site – check before you go. Look at the menu marked "technology" – full of useful information.

Radars in France.

Speed cameras save lives? This report suggests other traffic calming measures are much more successful.

– What is the traffic like where you are heading? (in French).

– European speed and alcohol limits.


French autoroutes.

All about French autoroutes.

French Government information on roads (in French).

– Bison Futé, France road information.


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