POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Lower speed limit helped reduce road fatalities: French govt



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The number of traffic deaths dropped in France last year, with the French government partially crediting the lower speed limits it introduced on country roads on 1 July 2018.

3,259 people died in road accidents in mainland France last year, a decrease of 5.5% compared to 2017 and the lowest figure since 2013.

That’s according to government figures published by the French road safety agency (Sécurité routière) on 28 January.

France reduced the speed limit on secondary roads without a central reservation from 90km/h to 80km/h, saying it would save 300-400 lives a year.

Of the 189 fewer road deaths recorded last year, Sécurité routière said that: “16 lives were saved during the second semester of 2018 on the network impacted by the lowering of the maximum authorised speed to 80 km/h.”

The agency also stated that “60 more lives would have been saved between November and December 2018 (30 each month)” if a large number of automated speed radar devices had not been damaged.

A huge number of French speed radar machines were vandalised when the gilets jaunes protests started last November. Many remained inoperable through the Christmas and New Year holiday.

Édouard Philippe, the French prime minister, said on his Twitter account that the results were “historic” and that “We are proud of the saved lives. We are proud to have taken our responsibilities.