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    Photo Radar - Tourist in Europe

    I got a few mails in the past, especially from the US, asking me to post a picture of a photo radar trap in Germany. Apparently some tourists want to be aware of what expects them on their trip.

    Here is such a picture.

    The most dangerous form of speed trap is actually the video trap. This is an ordinary car (usually Audi, BMW or Mercedes) which has a hidden video/radar trap system installed. They follow you from the behind and tape everything from speed to distance to the front car. And some tourists should be aware of another trap over here in Germany: the distance trap. You have to maintain a certain distance to the front car, otherwise you'll be punished. Usually they put such "distance traps" next to bridges. Such "control" points can be easily indentified by two white lines which are painted on the pavement in a certain distance one from each other. But usually it is too late to brake if you see these lines.

    Regarding payment: it is pretty common for german Police to send the bill home, so they don't stop you at the spot. Usually, especially if they caught you by photo radar.
    The video surveillance/trap cars usually stop you at the spot and they even can stall you completely if you've done something very bad. Means: they ground you and you can't drive your car anymore. Some states, like Bavaria, can even confiscate your car if they caught you drunk or if you did something very very nasty.
    If you rented a car, the car rental usually sends the bill to you (or deduct it from your credit card) because they have to pay the punishment.

    One good advise for tourists: never start argueing with police (I think this is valid for all countries). Be nice, apologize and if you're lucky, you won't have too much trouble.

    If you have more questions, feel free to ask.

    BTW: Italy raised the speed limit on 3-lane highways to 150 kph. Be careful in Austria, austrian police doesn't need proof that you broke the law. What they say, is the law. French police can be very nasty to foreign tourists, be nice, try to speak french and you might be lucky (it worked for me ). Italian police is nice, don't argue, apologize and you might be lucky too. Swiss police can be tough, they stopped me for 11(!) kph over the speed limit and "taught" me almost 20 minutes about the dangers of speeding. Oh boy.
    Just a few examples...

    Oops, here's the picture

    Stupid me.

    Re: Oops, here's the picture

    Wow, I like the camera

     
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