Speed limits on several secondary roads have been raised back to 90km/h in the Var department in the south of France.
More than half of all departments have now reversed a 2018 law limiting speed on all of these roads to 80km/h to allow at least some roads to return to the higher limit.
Ten sections of departmental roads in the Var – totalling around 170km in total – have had their speed limit returned to the pre-2018 level. This equates to around 6% of eligible roads in the department.
The change “will only take place on routes that are safe and where improvements have been made to improve safety,” said Jean-Louis Masson, president of the department.
“There is no question of a blanket return to 90km/h throughout the department but other sections could be switched over in the coming months.
“Studies are underway and we are awaiting feedback on the first ten sections” before making further changes, he added.
A controversial law change in 2018 lowered the speed limit on all departmental roads (excluding dual carriageways) to 80km/h.
From 2019 however, departments have been allowed to increase the limit back to 90km/h, providing they undertake a study on accident risk on the stretches of road involved.
As a result more than half of all departments in France had reinstated a 90km/h limit on at least one departmental road, states the pro-drivers’ organisation, the Ligue de Défense des Conducteurs.
Ten roads in department affected
The changes in the Var came into force on Monday September 18. It is the first time the Var has changed the speed limit on secondary roads since the rule change in 2019.
The roads affected are:
- A 7.5km section of the D98 between Bormes-les-Mimosas and Hyères
- 17km of the D3 between Rians, Pourrières and Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume
- 9km of the D2 between Signes and Le Castelet
- Almost 50km of the DN7, which crosses the department from east to west
- Nearly 20km of the D43
- 18km of the D97 between Solliès-Pont and Le Luc
- 15km of the D54 from Chateaudouble to Le Muy
- Just over 8km between Le Muy and Sainte-Maxime
- 4km between Montauroux and Les Adrets on the D37
- 19.4km between Aups and Aiguines on the D957
You can see a map of the roads affected here:
Credit: The Var Department
The change will see 155 road signs changed – at a cost of €25,000 to the department – to reflect the new limits, reports the local French media.
Some departments have changed all their roads back to 90km/h
In seven departments – Puy-de-Dôme, Aveyron, Allier, Corrèze, Creuse, Cantal, and Ardèche – all eligible roads have seen the speed limit return to 90km/h.
A breakdown of the list of departments where changes have been made since 2019 – accurate up to August 2023 (but including the Var’s changes) – can be found on the map below.
It takes data from departmental authorities and the Ligue de Défense des Conducteurs on road speeds, as well as showing how many roads within a department have returned to the original speed limits.