4,000 fined in Paris for driving cars with even-numbered plates image

About 4,000 drivers were fined on Monday in the French capital of Paris, after local authorities enforced the most drastic traffic curbs in 20 years – as air pollution hit dangerous levels.

Hundreds of police manned in 179 checkpoints around the entire city of Paris to ensure only cars with plates where numbers end with an odd digit were out – and according to Reuters about 4,000 drivers were fined (around $30) and 27 had their cars impounded for their reaction to the fine.

“Most of the road users understand well that this operation has a direct impact on curbing pollution,” said police officer Jean-Pierre Meutelet at Porte Maillot on the northwestern edge of Paris.

The operation that infuriated motorist organizations was a success according to the Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier, as the local authorities opted to not extend the ban on Tuesday – as air quality improved later in the day.

Public transportation, including local trains was free on Monday – while parking for vehicles with even number plates was also free.

On the same time electric and hybrid vehicles were exempted from the ban as well as any vehicle carrying three people or more.

According to the local police, on Monday there was half the usual number of traffic jams.

Paris typically has more smog than other European capitals, World Health Organisation (WHO) figures from 2008 show.