There is a lot of confusion around the different types of speed camera detectors and their legality in different countries. This is an important subject for us Brits when driving abroad because many countries in Europe have more stringent laws. So your speed camera detector which is legal in England may be spotted as breaking the law when you’re driving in France, for example – and there are even stories of the French Police making people drive over theirs! Irrespective of the law in the country that you are driving in, the speed limit should always be adhered to for the safety of all on the road.
- Most speed cameras use radar technology. There are several radar bands (X, K, Ka and Ku) used in the UK and Europe although most speed camera detectors can be used across the range of wavelength bands.
- GPS devices, including sat navs, allow users to update the device with fixed traffic camera information, both manually from their own experience and also via the download of data from the internet.
- There are also laser / LIDAR speed cameras which uses pulsed laser light instead of radar. Currently these are not as effective as radar speed cameras and they are also costlier, so radar is still the most prevalent.
- Not all speed monitoring devices can be detected, such as those using ANPR, piezo sensors and VASCAR technology.
- In addition to detectors for the types of speed camera technology above, scrambling devices are available to jam traffic enforcement equipment.
- In the UK, both fixed and mobile radar and laser speed camera detection devices are legal, although this is the subject of an ongoing debate in Parliament. However they are not legal in most countries in Europe and using a device may result in fines and/or seizure of the device. Be careful as some radar speed camera devices can be detected by traffic enforcers and the police.
- GPS only devices are legal in the UK and most of Europe because this information is all publicly available.
- It is illegal in most European countries to use speed camera scrambling technology. Although the technology is not illegal, the use of it against speed cameras is.
Driving in France
Take care when driving in France as all precise speed camera detection technology is illegal – whether you are using the device in your car or not. So do not have a device in your car whilst you are driving irrespective of it is turned on. This includes GPS and sat nav systems displaying fixed speed camera locations. If you are hiring a car with sat nav in France with Sixt then don’t worry, our in-vehicle systems will be compliant, however take care if you are crossing borders into France. Penalties can be harsh: a fine of up to €1,500, confiscation of the device and potentially of the vehicle. And if you break French driving laws you can also have your UK driving licence confiscated by French Police! A new network of speed cameras have recently been installed across France and many of them are not sign posted, so be cautious at all times.
Driving in Spain
Until recently, speed camera detection technology was legal when driving in Spain. However, as of May this year, radar detectors are illegal as they are said to interfere with the speed monitoring systems. GPS technology is still legal and, more than that, the Spanish Transport Department have created an app for the public with all of their speed camera locations. Plus, most fixed speed cameras are signposted. Radar and laser signal scramblers are not legal and face a fine of up to €6,000. If you are hiring a car in Spain with Sixt and you require any clarification then talk to our staff in branch who will be more than happy to help.
Driving in Italy
Detection of speed cameras, or “autovelox” in Italy, is illegal when driving in Italy and the fines could be hefty up to €2,800. As with Spain, GPS technology is legal. For further information when hiring a car in Italy with Sixt, talk to our staff in branch when you collect your car or ask one of our Customer Services Agents in advance.
Driving in Germany
In Germany, it is legal to own speed camera detection devices but illegal to use in a moving vehicle. Penalties for use when driving in Germany include a fine, destruction of the detector and points on your licence. If you are hiring a car with sat nav in Germany with Sixt and would like further information then get in contact with us and we can answer any questions.
For more information on hiring and driving in Europe, have a read of our comprehensive Europe Car Hire Page.