Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Beating the cops, French style

Last week, Times Online UK reported about how French and Spanish motorists avoid speeding tickets and save those valuable driving points by using a fall guy. Here's how the system works - you were caught speeding on the speed camera (France has more than 1000 and the UK has about 3200 installed) and the police send a ticket to your house. If you are able to convince your grandfather (who has an impeccable driving record) to take the hit for you, then you can respond to the ticket saying it wasn't you who was speeding, but him. He knows he won't be needing the 12 points on his license and wants to help you because you need to drive to work. There, problem solved - you just saved yourself those speeding points. What's more, you don't need to ask your grandpa for help every time - use the friendly eBay!

The whole idea of having computerized traffic cameras, as against cops holding speed guns at intersections, is to save manpower. Surely the team overseeing the modernization of the traffic control system never saw this coming!

After spending a few hours trying to translate I finally found a person selling 6 driving points for 400 Euros each. Pretty steep, if you ask me - especially since the minimum points deducted for one speeding offence is probably 3. So a person would most likely be parting with 1200 Euros! That's more than two times the US$ 800 per Capita GDP of Afghanistan!

Here is the screenshot of the eBay page in French (click image for full view):

And here is a Google translation of the page (click image for full view):

Maybe it's time to educate motorists (again) about the risks involved in speeding and sharing driving points. This type of points sharing is also present in Spain and may spread to other countries using a similar computerized model for monitoring traffic on their highways.

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