Europe News: Switzerland bans PNDs that feature traffic camera warnings

Europe News: Switzerland bans PNDs that feature traffic camera warnings

Switzerland has banned certain devices that provide the location of camera speed-traps and other traffic cameras, effective January 10, 2007.

Usage of these devices in Switzerland is illegal. Drivers caught using them will incur fines, and the equipment will be confiscated and destroyed.

The production, import and sale of such devices is now also illegal in Switzerland.

While retailers have received a list of banned systems, there doesn’t appear to be an official list of “approved” systems.

Furthermore, it is not acceptable to disable the traffic camera warning facility. Systems that include speed- and red-light camera locations or warnings must have such information deleted from the system.

According to Jennifer Fondrevay, NAVTEQ’s European marketing director, traffic camera information is generally not an integral part of the map data; it’s add-on software from either the system developer or the consumer himself.

“Consequently it should be relatively simple to exclude individual countries,” says Ms Fondrevay. “For example, camera information has been illegal in Germany for some time, and systems with pan-European data would simply not have this detail for Germany. This does not affect the other countries, where drivers want to make use of camera information.”

Road Angel’s sales director David Choat says that while he’s aware of the situation, he cannot see that a navigation device that has data for other countries could be illegal in Switzerland, providing the device has no data available for a country where use of such data is illegal.

“I fail to see how Switzerland can decree that a product that has this capability for another country can be illegal in their country, when other countries welcome the products and fully accept the safety advantages that they bring.”

He added that the Road Angel database for navigation products has had all locations removed that fall inside the Swiss border, and the devices have no detection capability. Consequently, on this basis, such devices must be fully legal.

Telematics Update invited Masternaut, TomTom, Tele Atlas and other industry players to comment, but they have yet to respond.

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