People who reveal the location of Swiss speed cameras on the internet face fines of up to 10,000 francs ($10,700), under new laws.

"/> People who reveal the location of Swiss speed cameras on the internet face fines of up to 10,000 francs ($10,700), under new laws.

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Online speed camera warnings to be banned

People who reveal the location of Swiss speed cameras on the internet face fines of up to 10,000 francs ($10,700), under new laws.

Online speed camera warnings to be banned

Like rebellious drivers everywhere, Swiss motorists have been using the internet to stay ahead of the police. Facebook group ‘Mobile radar reports: Switzerland’ has about 14,000 users. But a new law passed this week by the Swiss parliament will make it illegal to share information online about the location of speed cameras.

With 91 votes in favour and 72 against, the National Council approved the ban on speed camera warnings. The ban will come into effect in 2013 at the earliest.

According to socialist Edith Graf-Litscher, the spokeswoman for the national commission that proposed the ban, individuals will still be allowed to warn each other about cameras, but it will be illegal to make a public announcement on the subject on Facebook or Twitter.

Both the Swiss People’s Party and the Radical Party rejected the ban.

“This is a totally disproportionate decision,” said Radical Party councillor Markus Hutter, pointing out that even the police erect speed camera warning signs and that GPS navigation systems often alert drivers when they are approaching cameras.

“The ban is not feasible,” Hutter told Tages Anzeiger. “How can they ban warnings on the internet?” he wondered.

Graf-Litscher said the law would even prevent people with lots of friends from posting information about the cameras on their private Facebook accounts:

“It depends on how many Facebook friends someone has,” explained Graf-Litscher to the Zurich paper. “With two it is probably ok, but not so much with 1,000 friends,” she added.

Graf-Litscher said courts will have to decide the details of how the law is applied. Newspaper Tages Anzeiger writes that “apparently, Parliament has approved a ban without knowing exactly what it implies.”

Martin Steiger, a lawyer specialised on internet issues, says that if Parliament wants to ban public warnings, “they would have to prohibit the internet everywhere” and underlines that the proposed law contains “considerable legal uncertainty.”

The administrator of the Facebook group considers the decision of Parliament “ridiculous and unfeasible.” The man, who asked Tages Anzeiger to remain anonymous, says that if his speed cameras warning page is banned, “someone will start a new group immediately.”

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GENEVA

‘A declaration of war’: Why France and Geneva are feuding over new motorway plans

Opponents of the new motorway say it’s unnecessary and will cause pollution, while supporters argue that any attempt to stop the motorway would amount to a “declaration of war”.

'A declaration of war': Why France and Geneva are feuding over new motorway plans
Photo: MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently approved a motorway development between Machilly and Thonon-les-Bains. According to Le Parisien, the development will be targeted at ‘opening up the Chablais region’. 

Swiss authorities oppose the plan, saying it is unnecessary – particularly after the recent completion of the Léman Express rail network, which was built to decongest the entire region. 

Philippe d'Espine, spokesman for the city of Geneva, told Le Parisien that the French motorway plan was “nonsense”. 

“This highway section is really not essential and will directly compete with the Léman Express,” he said. 

Tens of thousands of workers live in the region and commute into Geneva daily for work.

Almost half a million vehicles – 446,700 to be exact – crossed into Geneva each day in 2018, as estimated by the Canton of Geneva.

Nine out of ten of the 90,000 border workers who travel into Geneva do so by car. 

As reported by The Local in December 2019, the Léman Express cut travel times significantly for many workers while also reducing costs considerably. Geneva residents lost an estimated 138 hours per year due to traffic. 

READ: How the new Léman Express train link will ease Geneva's traffic woes 

But the opposition to the plan has not only come from the Swiss side of the border. French environmentalists have also spoken out against the plan, saying it would unnecessarily reduce pollution in the area. 

READ: Why Switzerland's roads are among the safest in the world

French politician Christian Monteil, who has campaigned for the new motorway for over a decade, not stopping to mince his words as he spoke out against the Swiss authorities.

Monteil said any attempt to stop the motorway would be considered a “declaration of war”. 

“If an appeal is filed, we will launch counter actions to block Geneva. And we will call all elected officials of Chablais, all Chablaisiens and Chablaisiennes, to join us on Swiss territory.”

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