Drivers oppose 90kph drop and admit speeding

Over half of drivers admitted to going well over the existing 90kph speed limit

Over three quarters of drivers are against plans to drop the speed limit on main roads from 90kph to 80kph, and over half admit to driving much faster than that.

A new study found that 76% of drivers do not agree with government plans - set to come into force from July 1 this year - to lower the speed limit on secondary main roads across the country.

The 2018 Baromètre: Le Comportement des Français au Volant from risk prevention group AXA Prévention by Kantar-TNS questioned 1,560 representative drivers in January 12-29 this year.

Over half (56%) admitted to driving at 100-110kph on roads with a limit of 90kph, and 15% said they had driven as fast as 120-130kph on these roads.

Almost half (49%) of all drivers said they did not feel particularly safe on these roads, compared to just 38% who said they felt safe. Over one in ten (13%) said they felt definitely unsafe.

But the poll showed that this was not due to high speeds; 85% of those asked said they felt unsafe due to bad driving by others, and 56% blamed badly-maintained roads. Over one in five (23%) blamed bad signposts and lights.

The speed limit on normal main roads - those without a central reservation barrier - is to drop from 90kph to 80kph from July 1, affecting 400,000km of route.

The change is one of 18 measures introduced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in a bid to improve safety on the roads, and the government claims the speed limit drop will save 350-400 lives a year by 2020.

Over half (55%) of all fatal vehicle accidents took place on such roads in 2016, official figures show.

Yet, the AXA poll found that over half of drivers (52%) said that the change in speed limit would be nothing more than “a hidden tax”, and 36% said the measure would be “useless”.

Eric Lemaire, president of AXA Prévention said: “This is a French affliction, a deep affliction. Speed is the biggest cause of fatal deaths. The French know this, but they do not slow down, and they do not respect the limits.”

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