Motorists will still be able to share information on speed controls across the entire French road network, according to a decision by the Constitutional Council.
It is the end of a soap opera that has held in suspense many motorists. Since November 1, 2021, the reporting and sharing of certain traffic controls considered sensitive on guidance applications, such as Waze and Coyote, were to be prohibited. The prefectures could in fact request that a certain number of controls not be reported, in particular to prevent offenders or terrorists from using these devices to flee. This measure followed to the application of a decree published in April 2021 and did not say anything in substance about the speed controls, which in fact did not exclude their possible inclusion in the device.
These “white zones” defined by the authorities should therefore no longer signal the interventions of the police on Waze, TomTom or Coyote. As a reminder, it was the dissemination of information that was blocked, not the reporting, and this could relate to the simple presence of a control device. This ban under the authority of the prefects only applied on departmental roads. The Constitutional Council had been seized of a Priority Question of Constitutionality (QPC) by the Council of State in September, following a request from Coyote System. For the “wise men” of the rue de Montpensier, the right to free communication of thoughts and opinions (Art. 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen) implies the freedom to access these sharing services. and to express themselves there.
Freedom of expression prevails
The ban on communicating certain information in real time may however be applied by the prefects. This concerns cases of roadside checks involving the interception of vehicles. This blocking can therefore be served temporarily by the prefects for alcohol and narcotics checks, certain identity checks, vehicle and baggage searches, searches for crimes or misdemeanors punishable by at least three years of imprisonment or searching for fugitives. “This prohibition only applies to those restrictively enumerated controls, which do not include speed controls”, specifies the Constitutional Council. Coyote System, for its part, congratulated itself “Of this decision allowing road users to continue to be informed in real time of the dangers”.
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