Driving abroad: RAC’s tips for driving in Europe
Motorists could be hit with over a £1,000 fine for breaking a little-known European driving rule.
Road users could be slapped with a penalty for using a satellite navigation system in France due to strict regulations.
French laws ban motorists from using devices which can detect speed cameras dotted on roads.
This covers GPS systems which show fixed speed cameras with many modern devices having the function installed.
Experts have warned drivers must be aware of the rule with officers likely to issue fines of up to £1,300 (1,500 euros) for breaching the rule.
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ATS Euromaster said: “Using a sat nav or some form of GPS will make exploring your destination much easier.
“However be aware that some countries, such as France and Cyprus, prohibit the use of systems that alert you to the presence of speed cameras and could result in a 1,500 euros fine.”
According to the AA, penalties could also include confiscation of the device and officers may even seize your vehicle. Sanctions could also be issued if motorists have the device in the car even if it is switched off.
Professionals have urged drivers to disable camera alerts as soon as possible but this may be more difficult for sat navs built-into car dashboards.
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The AA explained: “If your satnav can show French camera locations in France then you must at least disable camera alerts before driving in France.
“We recommend that you contact the manufacturer of the satnav for advice. It’s likely that an update exists that’ll actually remove camera info for France from the device. If you have a satnav system built into your car then we recommend contacting the vehicle manufacturer in the first instance.
“If you use Google Maps to navigate, Google has advised that its camera detection feature turns off when you connect to data or WiFi in France.”
Individual companies have already taken matters into their own hands to ensure customers are not caught out.
Sat nav brand TomTom has confirmed their service is completely legal as it does not show the location of individual cameras.
A statement read: “TomTom’s service in France is certified to be 100 percent legal. Instead of warning for exact locations of cameras, TomTom warns for Danger Zones around any potential danger, including cameras.”
Garmin also offers a similar service but makes it clear online that their service still abides by the regulations.
They commented: “Safety camera subscriptions are not available in France. However, Garmin does offer a subscription for Dangerous Zones in France, which shows traffic light crossings, railroad crossings, and accident black spots.”
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