Drivers see speed cut as a limit to their freedom

Reducing speed limits on routes nationales from 90kph to 80kph from this July risks being seen as an intrusion into a driver’s personal space, says Herve Marchal, a sociologist at the Université de Bourgogne and author of Un sociologue au volant. The plan was one of 18 road safety measures recently announced by the prime minister

You have said that people see sudden changes in motoring rules such as this 10kph speed reduction as an intrusion. Can you explain?

The car is part of our everyday living space, a place where we develop ways of being, routines.

The body settles down and relaxes. We experience it as an intimate, subjective sphere. The interior of the car is a place where we want to decide what we do – a place where we feel in control – it’s ‘my space’.

 

The government will take stock of the speed reduction after two years. Perhaps if it is poorly accepted they will go back on it?

I don’t know if ...

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