Transport Minister

One day in November 2003, reporters equipped with hand-held radars clocked transport minister Gilles de Robien cruising out of Paris at 61mph on a road with a posted speed limit of 43mph. Another car chauffeuring interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy was clocked at 64 mph. Ironically, the ministers were travelling to a formal ceremony -- to unveil the county's first automatic speed cameras.

["The fact that he was running late on this particular day and being escorted by a security convoy is no excuse," de Robien's office remarked. "Nobody is above the laws of the road -- and certainly not the Transportation Minister." Sarkozy's office, on the other hand, issued a statement declaring that the "minister's vehicle was travelling in a secured environment behind two police motorcyclists who set the speed of the cortege." (At the time, France had the highest rate of road fatalities -- some 8,000 per year -- in the European Union.)]

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