Friday, January 28

Motorists allowed everywhere to share information, including on speed cameras

A mobile radar installed at the edge of a road in Foix, Ariège, August 23, 2017 PASCAL PAVANI

Motorists can share traffic information, including speed checks, on the entire French road network, with the exception of law enforcement checks involving the interception of vehicles, the Constitutional Council ruled on Wednesday.

The Sages had been seized of a priority question of constitutionality (QPC) by the Council of State in September, following a request of the manufacturer of systems of assistance to the conduct and navigation Coyote System.

The company contested an article not yet applied of the Highway Code (law of December 24, 2019), which provided for the total ban, during certain road checks, “to rebroadcast the messages and indications issued by users of this service “, even if these indications had nothing to do with the control.

This ban, under the control of the prefects, only applied on departmental roads. By virtue of a provision of the European Union, the prefects could not in fact prevent exchanges between motorists on motorways and national roads. Always with the exception of controls involving the interception of vehicles by the police.

During a hearing of the Constitutional Council relocated to Bourges on November 16, the lawyers of Coyote System had criticized these provisions “of undermining the freedom of expression and communication”, “an attack which would be neither necessary, nor adapted or proportionate to the objective pursued by the legislator “.

In its decision, the Constitutional Council recalled Article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789: “the free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the most precious human rights”. “This right implies the freedom to access these services and to express themselves there,” he noted in a press release.

The ban on communicating certain information in real time can however be applied by the prefects in the case of road checks involving the interception of vehicles, the Wise Men reminded us.

This blocking can therefore be pronounced temporarily by the prefects for alcohol and narcotics checks, certain identity checks, vehicle and baggage searches, searches for crimes or offenses punishable by at least three years of imprisonment or searching for fugitives.

“This prohibition only applies to these restrictively enumerated controls, among which do not appear speed controls”, specifies the Constitutional Council.

The Coyote company welcomed this decision which allows motorists to “continue to be informed in real time of the dangers of the road”. Its general manager Benoit Lambert, quoted in a press release, sees it as “additional official recognition of the contribution of our tools to road safety”.

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