Watch Out! There's a mobile radar about
Radar cars are on the increase on French roads and over 10% of these cars are now privately owned. These ‘mobile-radar’ cars use the Gatso Millia mobile radar which can record a speeding offence whilst moving & since 2018 the operation of these cars is constantly being out-sourced to private individuals with the aim that by the end of 2021 they will no longer be operated by the police.
At present they have only been operating in the following regions; Centre (West), Normandy, Brittany, Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire, but by the end of this year the following regions will also be covered; Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Hauts-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Grand-Est.
These vehicles can operate on any type of road, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, although each driver only averages 5 – 6 hours / day on the roads. The cars can also only record speeds when following a vehicle or when vehicles approach them but not whilst they are stationary. The cars used can be recognised by a black rectangular infrared license plate reader located under the front number plate (see photo above) as well as a camera on the dashboard that records the speed of a vehicle. At present these cars may also still have a uniformed Gendarme driving but the percentage of police drivers is constantly reducing as the service increasingly becomes privatised.
At present the unmarked cars that are used are often the same models: Renault Mégane, Dacia Sandero, Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot 208, 308 or 508, but the fleet is growing with Ford Focus, Seat Leon, VW Passat and Golf 7’s being used.
In 2019 1,211,066 speeding violations were recorded by 402 of these cars (nearly 200,000 more than in 2018) and 876,990 penalty tickets were sent out (against 760,013 in 2018).