I was flashed by a French speed camera. Will they track me down in the UK?

french speed camera

A French speed camera snapped our reader. But they could easily have been in Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands or Norway. The likelihood that the authorities will track them down and fine them is the same whichever EU country they were driving in.

Can EU authorities track you down in the UK?

No not currently. After Brexit, the rules changed. It means that previous EU laws no longer apply to UK drivers.

In 2015, the UK signed up to the EU’s Cross Border Enforcement Directive. This required all members to share details about drivers who had broken the law in countries they didn’t live in. That meant French speed limit enforcers could request the details of drivers from the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Automated fines were then sent to drivers in the post. Authorities had up to 100 days after they committed the offence to post the fine out.

One of the benefits of Brexit?

There don’t appear to have been many upsides to Brexit. But this could be one of them. After the UK left the EU, the above arrangements ceased. That means drivers caught speeding by cameras are unlikely to receive a fine when they’re back in the UK.

However, if a Gendarme catches a driver speeding and pulls them over they can still fine the driver on the spot.

Being unable to enforce fines in the UK is apparently costing the French treasury around €60 million (£52m) a year. As a consequence, they are keen to set up a bilateral arrangement at some point in the future. This would be similar to the one they have with Switzerland.

If the French can’t fine us, we can’t fine French (or any other EU drivers) who speed in the UK. But we couldn’t before Brexit either.

This is because law in EU countries entitles authorities to go after the owners of cars who’ve broken the law. But as the UK was/is a sovereign nation, we’ve chosen to apply the law differently. We punish the drivers of cars who’ve broken the law. If the authorities can’t prove who was driving, they can’t levy the fine.

french speed camera
French motorways have a lot going for them. Sadly they have speed cameras and gendarmes too

How much would the fine have been?

In France, the size of the fine varies according to how much you are exceeding the speed limit by.

Exceed the speed limit by 50km/h (31mph) and it’ll be €1,500 (£1,300).

If you’re 20-50km/h over, the fine will be €135 (£117).

It’s the same fine if you’re breaking the speed limit by less than 20km/h (12mph) when the limit is less than 50km/h.

If you’re less than 20km/h over the limit when the limit is more than 50km/h, the fine will be €68 (£59).

As in the UK, the faster you pay, the cheaper it is. A €135 penalty might be lowered to €90 (£78) if you pay within 15 days and increased to €375 (£325) if paid after 45 days. A €68 fine can be lowered to €45 (£39) if paid within 15 days.

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