French police using drones to catch drivers breaking the law


Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (photo by Rijin, via Wikimedia Commons)

Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (photo by Rijin, via Wikimedia Commons)

The French police stepped up its traffic enforcement efforts this past summer when Bordeaux traffic cops employed drones to track drivers. Since the summer, the drones have helped Bordeaux police issue "hundreds" of fines for various traffic violations.

Marketplace reported on Monday that the drones are equipped with cameras to track unlawful drivers until police can dispatch a traffic cop to pull the driver over. Police captain Pascal Gensous said the drone operation sometimes leads to 15 or 20 drivers stopped every hour. The drones can't clock speeds, but traffic cameras provide backup for local police when it comes to speeding fines. 

Not everyone has embraced the use of drones. Pierre Chasseray of the lobby group Forty Million Drivers argued the drones will further distract drivers since some may be inclined to search the sky for the equipment. It's not the strongest defense, but perhaps he has a point. The French government is reportedly interested in expanding the technology to other areas in the country despite the lobby group's argument.

Drones have enjoyed more widespread use in recent years and their various applications will likely expand further. In 2014, Amazon filed to patent a drone system to recharge electric cars as the vehicle moves. Mercedes has begun testing the waters in delivery via drones, too.

In the future, various companies promise larger-scale drones to shuttle passengers via local air travel. Such a transportation method is likely years away. In the meantime, don't horse around on French roads because there could be an electronic eye in the sky.

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