French departmental speed limit could drop to 80 km/h

The speed limit on departmental roads in France could be reduced from 90 km/h to 80 km/h

The speed limit on departmental roads in France could be reduced from 90 km/h to 80 km/h, according to reports today.

The government road safety group La Comité interministériel de sécurité routière has yet to make a definite decision on the change, but reports suggest it could be announced at the group’s next meeting, set for January 2018.

The reduction would apply to roads that do not have a central reservation ‘separator’ - such as a rail or a barrier - between the two carriageways.

This describes most of the French road network, to which the new speed limit could be applied as a means to “reduce the gravity of accidents and pollution, and [promote] better flow of traffic”, according to reports.

Similarly, the road safety group La Ligue contre la violence routière believes that the new measure will positively impact “some of the most dangerous roads” when there is “much traffic”, and will save “350 to 400 lives per year”, said the group president, Chantal Perrichon, speaking to French news source FranceInfo.

“When will we understand that we have a duty of protection on our roads?” she asked. “This is a public health problem.”

Perrichon is calling for the changes to go further, and would like to see motorway speed limits decrease from 130 km/h to 120 km/h too.

And yet, some critics are not happy with the idea to reduce speeds, with the drivers’ group, L'association 40 Millions d'automobilistes, calling the plan “a new threat to drivers” and launching an online petition asking the public to “say no” to the proposed change.

The new speed limit would not help road safety, but simply increase the number of tickets and fines issued for speed infractions, the group alleges.

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