Red weekend on the roads: on the A75, the gendarmes of the Millau Viaduct on the front line against violations

For the last crossover weekend of the summer, the Millau Motorized Peloton teams are mobilized in the A75 sector, whether they are placed at the toll booth or in special cars.

For the nineteen gendarmes of the Motorized Platoon (PMO) in Millau, everything is settled. Friday morning, they are eleven, put in their usual device, for a new day of checks. A large part of the workforce is at the Viaduc toll booth, a key location on the A75 motorway sector. “It is an obligatory crossing point, on very busy roads, especially in the summer, connecting Paris to Spain. In addition, it is the only charge on this free axis, so it is good for in control”said Captain Cherel, commander of the Departmental Road Safety Squadron (EDSR), who is responsible for the PMO.

“A mandatory crossing point on very busy summer roads”

However, the final exits, in one direction or the other, before entering the building, offer an ideal detour to avoid this critical point. But their training provided it. A team is stationed at the Saint-Germain roundabout, to manage the north-south flow, and two men are stationed at a Rapid Intervention Vehicle (VRI), at La Cavalerie interchange. From this point, they can choose to catch the cars going to Montpellier or Clermont-Ferrand as soon as possible.

17 drivers were punished

Throughout the morning, the gendarmes conducted many operations of all kinds.

Hurry up: They represent the most frequent violations. In just three hours, ten motorists were penalized, and the eleventh was more significant. At the wheel of an English super sports car, a foreign motorist flashed at 187 km / h. He was fined €135 and banned from driving in the territory for several months. He will get his driving license back once he returns to the UK.

Non-compliance with security and administrative measures for the vehicle: Technical inspection exceeded, driving without insurance, dangerous loading of materials… Many reasons can push the gendarmes to check and then punish the drivers.

Immediate danger: Despite violations, the military can intervene. This is what happened yesterday, when a dog escaped the control of its owner at the Saint-Germain stop.

Identity Check: During the traditional verification of papers, the military sometimes discovers surprises. Like this guy with the distance scale. After approaching the prefecture’s services, the individual was in poor condition. The investigation is ongoing.

All under the guidance of a crossing guard, placed four kilometers above the toll, with twin radars, who directs his colleagues to motorists who violate.

Speed, main reason for intervention

Very quickly after taking the position, the gendarmes received information froma car flashes at 151 km/h. He was then stopped at the toll. As usual, the person concerned “didn’t realize his speed” and no “habit of truth”. However, the military is mindful of the dangers of excessive speed. “Whether you are in a hurry or late, the most important thing is to arrive alive”introduced a police officer.

Contact, an important data

Within their profession, contact with the rest of the population is important. “It is important to explain to the people being investigated why we are there, and to be alerted, it is more effective than a simple radar inspection”said Arnaud Cherel again.

In the same spirit, they warn about blood alcohol and narcotics. “There is no law, according to Captain Cherel. There is no typical profile or specific schedules. What one of his colleagues completed: “The other day, we arrested a man with 2.7 grams of alcohol per liter of blood, in the middle of the day.”

Special pilot

At the same time, Warrant Officer Nicolas, a special pilot, is ready to intervene. Aboard his Mégane GT (the traditional RS model currently under review, editor’s note), he is able to overtake cars at high speeds, sometimes traveling at more than 200 km / h. “The goal is to be able to move as quickly as possible, we must take a risk by driving very fast, but it must be in a very short time”, he said. For him, a car enthusiast, this profession is a vocation. However, it continues to warn of risks.

“It requires very good vision and a lot of concentration. When you’re chasing cars, it’s not small.” In the territory of the former Midi-Pyrénées region, four more soldiers shared his profession, two of them were assigned to Millau. To ensure their proficiency, they must complete an internship every six years. During these periods of heavy traffic, he performs at least five catch-up operations, called catch-up bridges, every day. In this final crossover weekend, the motorized Peloton of Millau is always on the alert.

A worker supplemented by bikers

Knowledge In addition to the rapid intervention vehicle, the PMO and the EDSR have motorcyclists who also specialize in rapid interventions. Like their car counterparts, they have special training and every six years, they must complete an internship to prove their driving skills. But beyond the pursuit of fugitives and excessive speeding, they can intervene in the context of bad behavior on the road, such as driving on the hard shoulder, overtaking on the right or even in the escort framework.

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