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France: Profit Sinks By $714 Million As Cameras Are Destroyed
The speed cameras destroyed by the Yellow Vest movement have cost the French government $714 million in lost profit so far.

Smashed French speed camera
As the Yellow Vest protest movement continues to lose momentum, French President Emmanuel Macron seized the opportunity to blame worsening road safety numbers on vigilantes. February road deaths rose to 253, compared to 216 the previous year, which Macron insisted was caused by the destruction of three-quarters of the nation's speed cameras since November last year when the protests began.

Despite the short-term uptick in collisions, the long term figures remain positive. Comparing the full year ending February 2018 to the full year ending February 2019, fatal accidents are down 2.6 percent, according to data from the French Interior Ministry ONISR (view stats in a 350k French language PDF). Likewise, fatalities are down 22 percent when compared to the number who died on the roads in 2010. As reported previously, accidents dropped sharply in 2018, leading to the lowest ever annual road fatality total. At the height of the Yellow Vest attacks on automated ticketing machines in December, road fatalities and injuries also dropped.

There is no dispute, however, over the financial impact of the Yellow Vest movement. So far, the destruction of speed cameras has cost the government 660 million euros (US $714 million) in revenue that the French government has not been able to capture because so many cameras have been taken out of service. In 2018, the government brought in 209 million euros (US $235 million) less than expected and then lost another 455 million (US $511 million) in 2019 -- this year's total haul was supposed to be 1.2 billion euros (US $1.4 billion).

Attacks on French cameras continued last week, but at a much slower pace. On Wednesday, a pair of vigilantes used green spraypaint to cover the speed camera on the RN7 in La Roche-de-Glun -- one of the last still working in the department. A police patrol just happened to pass by at the time, and the suspects, a 36-year-old man and a 39-year-old-woman were taken into custody. In Pornic, a yellow phallus was spraypainted onto the speed camera on the D751, preventing it from issuing automated tickets. On March 24, green spraypaint was used on the speed camera on the RN6 in Dardilly. Around the same time, fluorescent yellow paint blinded the speed camera on the RD901 in Attin which had just been repaired from a previous attack.

Vigilantes in Molteno, Italy, beheaded a pair of speed cameras on Tuesday. According to La Provincia di Lecco, the radar equipment in the "Velo OK" brand machines on Via Giovanni XXIII and Viale Consolini were dumped in the forest near San Martino.

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