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A sat nav wrong turn could land you in trouble with French police

07 Aug 2012 at 13:24

If you’re driving abroad this summer, it’s important to know the traffic laws in the countries you’ll be travelling in.

Plenty has been made of the recent introduction of the personal breathalyser kit in France.  This became effective on 1st July this year, but is not punishable by an €11/£9 fine until 1st November. Now, however, the Gallic government has passed more new legislation, making it illegal to use satellite navigation devices displaying speed camera information.

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The gadget doesn’t need to be in use for you to be caught, either. Even if it is switched off and safely stowed in the glovebox, just being in possession of the unit will be enough to see you slapped with a fine.

A heavy on-the-spot fiscal penalty of up to €1,500, consistent with other French motoring offences, is highly likely.

So what can you do to avoid the French police? For starters, disable your unit’s speed camera alerts. However, this alone might not be enough to convince the police of your innocence.

The only way of being 100% sure is to contact the relevant vehicle or aftermarket device manufacturer to seek advice about removing the camera location information, or modifying the mapping database to counter the issue.

Changes in the system’s software will have to be completely up to date though, as there are currently 400 new fixed speed cameras being installed in France.

There is another way to skirt the problem, of course. Stick to the speed limits and stay alert and aware – that way you should never come into contact with the long arm of the law.