SPEED TRAP TRIAL: 15 French Facebook fans are on trial for keeping 10 000 users up to date on the positions of moveable radar speed traps. Should they be? Image: Shutterstock
RODEZ, France - Members of a Facebook group that warns drivers about
speed traps locations in southern France slammed the "hypocritical"
nature of the case against them as their trial opened earlier this week.
The case, the first of its kind in France, targets 15 accused, including the group's co-founder.
are the Internet terrorists," their lawyer Remy Josseaume told the
court sarcastically in the southern city of Rodez. "It is hypocritical
to put these people on trial while there are many products that inform
drivers where radars are positioned and they are legal.”
10 000 MEMBERS
15 are accused of helping motorised road users to avoid speeding fines.
Eight of them also face charges of insulting police officers by
describing them with unflattering bird names on the site. The
Facebook group "Which Tells You Where The Police Are In (the southern
French town of) Aveyron" was created in 2012 and has more than 10 000
members.A message on its site says: "Alert this group if you are
in a car and you see a blue (police) van, a radar (trap) or police on
motorcycles in the Aveyron. It won't take you more than 30 seconds and
you will be a hero for people who read your message.”
prosecutor Yves Delperie recently said he wanted to "reprimand people
who seek to break the law" but Josseaume argued that the accused had not
breached the law in any way.
He said that while radar detectors
were banned and carried a possible fine of €1500 and a suspension of six
points on a French driving licence, the Facebook site could not be
termed as such.
The co-founder of the group, Mathieu Chane, said
the trial was "hypocritical". “The the judges want to make an example of
us and create a precedent."
Road safety groups, however, say such sites are dangerous.
'STOP THE NETWORKS'
Stasiowski, head of a road-safety group in the affected area, said:
"Speed kills and the fact that one is trying to thwart radar controls
puts the lives of motorists and others in danger.
"Such social networks must be stopped and everyone must respect speed limits.”
Do YOU think such warnings should be
illegal - after all, such a warning will make drivers slow down, which
is the intention of speed-traps? Why not email your views to Wheels24 - or
add to the Readers' Comments section below with your opinion?