12/5/2005French Ministers Caught Driving Recklessly
Auto Plus magazine catches French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy violating half a dozen traffic laws.
French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy are the two most outspoken proponents of heavy enforcement of traffic laws in France. Sarkozy, for example, has direct responsibility for the dramatic expansion in the number of speed cameras used in the country. Nonetheless, a weekly automotive magazine has caught the pair driving recklessly over the course of three weeks and 50km.
A four-page spread of photographs in the current issue of Auto Plus documents the ministers running red lights, speeding, driving in bus lanes, driving on the wrong side of the road and even causing a crash. A team of journalists tailing the minister recorded offenses that should have cost de Villepin's driver 75 demerit points against his license and 40 against Sarkozy's. Ordinary motorists lose their license at twelve points.
The ministers traveled in their own separate motorcades with de Villepin in a Peugeot 607 and Sarkozy in a black Renault Vel Satis. One of the motorcycles in Sarkozy's group rear-ended a Renault Clio belonging to a man who had stopped for a red light that the convoy intended to run. Although the crash was severe enough to shatter the Clio's rear window, the minister did not stop to check on the condition of the victim.
After the article's appearance, the Interior Ministry said in a statement that, "Threats related to the function of the Interior Minister... justify the adoption of certain protective measures."