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Mon, 28 Jul 2008
The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) is this month warning motorists to dismantle or remove their speed camera detectors when driving abroad to avoid serious penalties. In some countries, in-car GPS systems that show where speed cameras are located are also banned.

A survey of motoring clubs across Europe in 23 countries found that only two - the UK and Hungary - permit the use of both camera detectors and POI (points of interest) GPS systems.

Thirteen countries, including Austria, France and Italy allow POI systems but not radar/laser detection equipment. The IAM Trust has always supported the banning of such equipment because its main use is to allow drivers to speed without fear of detection.

Seven countries prohibit POI systems, including popular tourist destinations such as Ireland, Germany and Switzerland. The POI function is built into many GPS units and shows the location of fixed cameras from information in the unit's CD-ROM database, which can usually be updated. POI systems normally feature information about garages, car parks, shops and other facilities. In most modern units this information can be turned off.

Neil Greig, Director of the IAM Motoring Trust said: "There have been incidents when camera detectors have been literally ripped out by local police. The best thing to do is check if detectors are permitted in the country you plan to visit or simply don't take one with you."

Punishment for using prohibited equipment varies widely from country to country. In Germany a fine of EUR75 is levied if the sat nav POI function is not switched off. In Switzerland and Ireland your sat nav could be confiscated.

Mr Greig added: "Driving abroad can be an unnerving experience. While away take extra care to observe speed limits in unfamiliar countries. If you planned to rely on your sat nav to give you directions, take a local map as well and plan a route before travelling."

The table below shows which countries allow detectors and which do not.

Country Point of Interest systems Camera detection equipment

Austria Permitted Prohibited

Belgium Permitted Prohibited

Bosnia-Herz. Prohibited Prohibited

Bulgaria Prohibited Prohibited

Cyprus Prohibited Prohibited

Czech Rep. Prohibited Prohibited

Denmark Permitted Prohibited

Finland Permitted Prohibited

France Permitted Prohibited

Germany Prohibited Prohibited

Hungary Permitted Permitted

Ireland Prohibited Prohibited

Italy Permitted Prohibited

Luxembourg Permitted Prohibited

Macedonia Prohibited Prohibited

Netherlands Permitted Prohibited

Norway Permitted Prohibited

Portugal Permitted Prohibited

Russia Permitted some types permitted

Slovakia Permitted Prohibited

Sweden Permitted Prohibited

Switzerland Prohibited Prohibited

UK Permitted legislation in preparation


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