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Facebook 15 on trial for speed-trap warnings

2014-09-13 16:14

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.

"Here 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

The 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.”

Rodez 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.


Bernard 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?

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