Prosecutors have charged 10 French citizens for using a Facebook group to divulge the location of speed cameras.
The move to prosecute members of the group, which has almost 9,000 subscribers, has prompted accusations of “double standards.”
French authorities have targeted the Facebook page, which tells people how to avoid police patrols and speed cameras in the southern region of Aveyron. The page encourages subscribers to take 30 seconds of their time to post the location of any police vehicles or cameras, claiming it does not infringe on the work of the police.
However, the regional authorities don’t seem to agree with the group’s creators, and are pressing charges against 10 people for illegally detecting speed enforcement devices. If the drivers are found guilty it could result in a potential fine of 1,500 euros ($2,000) each.
David Alègre, a 40-year-old truck driver, told French newspaper Le Figaro that the charges were ridiculous.
“I’m being prosecuted because they have likened me to a radar detector,” he said. Algre’s lawyer, Remy Josseaume, added that if citizens were going to be prosecuted then so should the police, citing the local police force’s Facebook page where they post updates on future speed control points.
“I’m talking about radar detector companies, the media which
publishes maps of France’s most used speed cameras and the police
who themselves warn of speed enforcement actions on social media.
It’s a double standard,” he said.
Aveyron prosecutor Yves Delperie said he is trying to curtail the amount of people who escape the law.
“I lay awake at night because people are getting killed on the road,” Delpérié told Le Figaro. “It’s appalling that certain people put out warnings about the locations of speed cameras.”
Josseaume argues that although Delperie’s enthusiasm and dedication to road safety are admirable, his efforts might be better spent elsewhere, reinforcing drink driving regulations or outlawing the use of mobile phones in vehicles.