Monday, February 15, 2010

New Traffic Camera Flashes on Yellow

That's right, the newest tech to arrive in France is a traffic camera that will flash you when you try and beat the yellow. And the penalty for giving the go, as we've all been doing since the arrival of traffic lights, well not nearly as bad a getting caught for running a light in the 'traditional' sense:  4 points knocked off your license and a fine of 135 €. In any case, it's not just running the big red that'll get you nailed now.

The yellow light is in fact a stoplight just like the red, as noted under Section R412-31of the traffic code. It requires any vehicle arrive at a yellow light to stop.

Up until this point these new cameras have been quite rare, but the number of installation will multiply in 2010, as the number of red and yellow light runnings have been exploding in major cities. The prefecture of Paris has confirmed the arrival of 9 radars of this type for planned  installation in the areas considered the most dangerous. They will be installed on sites where one accident in 5 has been described as serious. This will include the route along the Seine (D7), the D920 in the south and the periphery road of La Defense.

The operating system is for these units, much like the the existing units that flash when running a red. One system flashes the vehicle when it passes a yellow or red light. A second system flashes from behind once the light has been completely crossed. Running a yellow light is going to cost you 22 euros if payed in the first 3 days and 35 euros in the month there after but without a loss of points. On the other hand, if the light turns red before the rear of the vehicle has passed, it's red, not yellow, even if the driver saw yellow. So beware!

It seems we may be seeing a big increase in the number of drivers slamming on their brakes when arriving at a light and the accompanying risk that a motorcycle gets nailed in the back by a larger vehicle.

150 traffic cameras were  installed in France in 2009, bringing the total to 275. The goal is to have 4500 control devices by the end of 2012, contrary to 2810 in 2009.

The distribution of radars in France is as follows:
1615 fixed speed cameras
900 mobile speed cameras
275 traffic cameras
20 inter-distance control devices 

The models of traffic cameras currently employed are:

For more info on radar in France: