|Too close for comfort. French act against tail-gating.
Tail-gating is to be automatically monitored on a French motorway as part of a continuing road safety programme set in train last year by the French government.
The trial, which began in mid-May, uses CCTV technology linked to roadside LED signs to detect drivers following too close to the car in front.
Currently limited to the southbound A10 motorway, north of Orleans, lane-specific analogue CCTV cameras using ANPR software and fitted to overhead bridges, monitor the traffic. For night time use, the cameras are fitted with Infra Red imaging technology. As each vehicle enters a camera's field of view, a precise record is made of the time, accurate to within a few hundredths of a second, and of its number-plate details.
Where the interval between two cars is less than 2 seconds, the number plate of the second vehicle is displayed on an illuminated LED sign placed 250 metres after the bridge, alternating with the message "Trop Pres" (Too close).
This system complements the one put in place in July 2003, warning drivers of excess speed.
"The system is purely educational and will not be used to sanction drivers." said Bernard Lacrampe of Cofiroute, the French ITS systems integrator responsible for the installation of the scheme. "If it is successful, we hope to expand it to other parts of the network."
In a separate development, laser cameras designed to catch tail-gaters are also being tested by police in the UK although there is not, as yet, a specific offence in English law of 'following too close'.
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