don’t be fooled by this “fake story” of panels

Newly formed, does the government of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne intend to do away with traffic signs indicating the presence of radars on the roads? With the legislative elections of June 12 and 19, 2022 approaching, this is what Facebook (1, 2, 3) and Twitter (4) users who denounce this supposed change hostile to motorists say, to which it would be Elisabeth Borne “favorable”.

They are all based on a screenshot posted hundreds of times on Facebook since May 23, showing the opening lines of an article titled “Speed ​​cameras will no longer be advertised by billboards.”

“The news made a lot of noise, and it is just one measure among the many measures announced by the government. The automatic radars, until now preceded by a large panel warning of their presence in the next hundred meters, will soon stop announcing themselves. not at all”, continues the text visible in this image.

But contrary to what this alert suggests, the signs announcing the presence of a radar will not disappear, the prime minister’s office confirmed to AFP: “Contrary to what certain posts on social networks say, it was never considered removing the signs”. announcing a speed camera.

The Road Safety Delegation (DSR) also confirms this to AFP: “It is not a matter of removing the signs announcing a speed camera. All fixed speed cameras are indicated by a notice board” so that “users ‘know’ that they are entering”. an accident-prone area where they must pay attention to their speed.

A decision dating from May 2011

The screenshot shared on Facebook and Twitter is taken from the “Radar Control” blog: if this article doesn’t include a publication date, it was already online in 2011, as can be seen thanks to the Wayback Machine platform archives.

From its first lines, it cites as a source an “announcement” made on May 11 by the “Interministerial Road Safety Committee” (CISR), an organization that brings together road safety actors “in order to” advise the government ” , thanks to “opinions and recommendations”, as indicated on its site.

In the minutes of this meeting of May 11, 2011, the CISR indicated in particular that it had decided to “remove the existing signs that reported the presence of fixed radars and stop placing signs of new locations”, considering that “the cartels advertising fixed speed cameras may encourage some drivers to obey the speed rules only near them”.

Subsequently, on May 19, a decree from the Ministry of Ecology and Transport was published in the Official Gazette acknowledging this suppression. But this decision by the government of François Fillon, as well as the decision to remove the warning radars, had turned into a confrontation with the deputies of the UMP, who feared the consequences of these unpopular measures, a year before the presidential elections in 2012. .

Panels briefly dismantled before being reinstalled

A few days later, the then Minister of the Interior, Claude Guéant, indicated that 36 panels “had already been dismantled” throughout France, but that this process would not continue “before a local consultation”. The government then promised to replace traffic signals with educational speed cameras, not penalties, indicating the speed of motorists on a luminous panel.

In February 2013, almost a year after the election of François Hollande, the new Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, had nevertheless indicated that he would follow the latest CISR recommendation on the return of signs indicating the presence of automatic radars, and that this measure would be implemented “gradually over two or three years.”

Thus, as indicated by the Road Safety Delegation on its page dedicated to fixed speed cameras, “after the decision of the Minister of the Interior, on February 15, 2013, to return to consistency in the signaling of fixed speed cameras, all fixed speed cameras are now indicated by speed camera bulletin boards”, “teaching speed cameras previously installed before fixed speed cameras” have been “relocated to dangerous areas not equipped with automatic speed cameras”.

A 2004 circular on the origin of radar signaling

If on May 1, 2022 there were 4,400 radars in France, according to CISR figures, the presence or absence of a panel announcing their proximity is not legally binding, Sébastien Dufour, a traffic lawyer, explained to AFP. law: “Nothing in the criminal procedure code allows the regularity of a speed camera report to be conditional on the presence or absence of a sign indicating a speed camera.”

“In terms of legal procedure, the presence of a radar signal has no impact,” continues the lawyer, while recalling that “it is the interministerial circular of February 3, 2004 that provides for the signaling of radars by means of signals in the via”. .

In this letter, the then Ministers of the Interior and Equipment, Nicolas Sarkozy and Gilles de Robien, urged the department prefects to be “particularly attentive to the relevance and coherence of the prescription signs, in particular as regards the speeds, in the planned places”.

A philosophy now shared by the government of Elisabeth Borne, according to what her cabinet told AFP: “The announcement of a traffic radar by the presence of a panel makes it possible to reduce the speed of a driver and, therefore, ensure more identified routes as especially rugged”. -prone. This is even more important as speeding remains the leading cause of death on our roads.”

The new signage was gradually implemented from 2017

If the posters announcing the presence of a traffic radar – whose location can also be found online on the Road Safety website – should not disappear, on March 1, 2017 they began to be gradually replaced by new signage.

As reported by the Ministry of the Interior on its site, a new panel has since been deployed in France, simply a radar control pictogram, with the idea that this “simplification” allows “the user to bring all his attention to the authorized speed “. limit integrated for the first time in the aluminum sheet (…), placed in a very visible way in the upper part of the panel.”

The DSR confirms to AFP that “the deployment of new panels is currently continuing”, and that these are placed “before a fixed radar as part of the renewal of the existing fleet”. “Ultimately, this signaling will precede all fixed radars in the existing fleet outside the agglomeration,” adds the DSR.

On May 13, 2022, in a press release entitled “Can road safety get rid of speed cameras?”, the association 40 Millions d’automobilistes denounced the acceleration of a “campaign to withdraw the panels installed around the fixed radars”, deploring that the latter are replaced “by new panels, indicating not that an automatic sanctioning speed control device is a few hundred meters away, but that there is a probability of crossing said device ( .. .) over a distance of several (tens of) kilometers”.

As indicated by the Ministry of the Interior in 2017, in 2016 “control routes using decoy panels” began to be deployed, with a specific objective -and signaling-: “randomly move an autonomous radar on a precise route, in such a way as to stimulate the surveillance of users to respect the authorized speeds (…) on roads without median separators where many accidents due to speeding are observed”.

Towards the end of the point deduction for a minor speeding violation?

While a total of 2,947 people died on the roads of mainland France in 2021, 9% less than in 2019, the reference year prior to the pandemic, according to Road Safety, the Ministry of the Interior indicated at the end of May 2022 AFP to think in not deducting more points from the driver’s license of motorists guilty of “minor speeding”.

“The idea is that you no longer lose a point if you are 5 km/h above” the authorized speed, explained the ministry, specifying that, however, the fines that sanction these infractions would be maintained.

A track considered electoral by the National Association (RN) as well as by Les Républicains (LR) as the legislative elections approach. Marine Le Pen (RN) reminded the press that she had taken this step in the context of the presidential election. According to her, points should no longer be deducted for speeds of less than 20 km/h, but above all, pay attention to the promises made in the 15 days prior to the election because as a general rule they are not outfits.

For the president of LR Christian Jacob, questioned on RTL, “eliminating small point withdrawals is rather a good thing that goes in the right direction”, although he considers that “we must absolutely maintain the fine, otherwise there is no limit” and expressed his doubts about the timeliness of this possible measure: “As we are in the electoral period, we may have doubts about the announcements.”

The LREM spokeswoman, Maud Bregeon, tempered in RMC the declarations of the Ministry of the Interior, indicating that “nothing has been acted upon at the time of speaking” and that “this is part of a global reflection.

“Road safety is an important social issue that concerns all French people and that, of course, will be part of the government’s reflection,” Elisabeth Borne’s cabinet told AFP.

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