The automated speed enforcement programme in France
France's introduction of an automated speed enforcement programme (CSA ?
Contr?le Sanction Automatis?) represents a major step in terms of combating traffic
hazards. On the one hand implementation reflects political commitment and decision-
making at the highest state level, with the system being jointly administered by the
various ministries concerned; and on the other CSA has been accompanied by a
substantial reduction in the number of road accident victims, comparable to that
achieved in the early 1970s. The new situation also signals a break with previous
approaches to deterring excessive speed, involving increased efforts at detection,
certainty of application of sanctions, more severe sanctions, judicial rapidity and
equity of treatment.
CSA is an innovative system in that its virtually fully automated functioning is
ensured by digitisation of the processes involved and computerisation all along the
line: detection, payment of fines, online consultation of one's driving license file, etc.
The use of the latest technology nonetheless has its ambiguous side to the extent
that it is seen as symptomatic of a system incorporating both "big brother" (gridding
and surveillance of the road network) and "soft sister" (level of service on a safer
network, and the pursuit of equity of treatment) (Pollitt 2003, p. 78-79).