While most Blogs about France (including this one) will tell you all the great stories about life in France, you won't read much about issues that can get to you in a big way when one decides to live in this great country. Sure, you've seen the odd story about french bureaucracy proceeding at snail's pace, or other fun stuff about incompetent plumbers that one can laugh about when it's fixed.
But how about things that really are different here in a not so great way? Since I just came back from a 3k road trip through France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, I am going to say something about one of my biggest disappointments about being in France. Speed traps. No, I did not get any tickets this time around, I paid my dues last year. I learnt quick.
But on this trip I contemplated about the french government's line of installing more and more radar traps in the name of road safety. Bullshit. Only lemmings (there are a few....) would believe that road safety is improved by installing a forest of radar camera and hiring more cops to patrol the highways in unmarked vehicles for speeders.
If you read that France is generating 700 million Euros of revenue (a cool billion in USD) through speed fines alone, you gotta realize it's all about money. Much need money for Francois III.
Were the french government to say, "Yes, it's all about revenue to support our unsustainable socialist ways, we need every cent we can get from entry level criminals who go 5km/h over the speed limit so we can keep paying lazy people who don't want to work", I would be OK with the concept. But feed the general population a line on safety? Yes, lemmings. I am no lead foot but like to move it, especially when driving on wide open roads with almost no traffic.
Driving 90km/h on a deserted road at midnight does NOT make me concentrate more, it puts me to sleep. Zipping down the Autobahn at 150 and being passed by faster cars makes me pay attention.
Germany, a comparable country in size and population here in Europe with a much more liberal speed policy on it's roads has less traffic fatalities than France.
Safety? That argument is out the window right there. Unless of course french drivers suck, or their french made vehicles are sub par to those the Germans produce. Mind you, a recent law here in France mandates that you carry an alcohol test kit in your car. Could it be that french drivers drink and drive more than their neighbors? No speed limits will make driving safer then either.
Anyway. Here is a funny video: