French minister: 80kph could revert back to 90kph

A speed radar warning sign at the side of a French road
Mr Castaner said that the speed limit could be changed back if the move is found to have made no difference

The 80kph speed limit in France could be changed back to 90kph if studies show that lowering the limit has not been effective in making roads safer, the government has said again.

Minister for the interior Christophe Castaner made the suggestion during a visit to the stricken Aude region, which was affected by a terrorist attack in Trèbes 10 months ago, and severe flooding three months ago.

The 80 kph limit was introduced in July 2018, to much opposition and controversy. Some road users and critics said the measure would not help improve road safety, and would simply allow the government to collect more fines.

Mr Castaner said: “If the 80kph measure has not helped in terms of road safety, we could go back to 90kph.

“The 80kph has only one objective: to save lives. Those who destroy speed cameras, at night, must take significant responsibility. People must urgently consider their priorities. [In the choice] between saving one minute [driving] and someone’s life, there is no contest.

“We have committed to re-evaluating the measure after two years, and we will be totally transparent about the results. If this measure achieves nothing, we may go back to 90kph. But if deaths on the roads have dropped thanks to this measure, and we have saved lives, what should we do? Go back on it?”

This is not the first time that the government has suggested the possibility of a backtrack on the controversial change.

Mr Castaner and President Emmanuel Macron have both previously said that the success of the measure would be re-evaluated two years after the rule change.

During his visit to the Aude, Mr Castaner also offered his support and “courage” to the people in light of the Trèbes attack, and the devastating floods.

He also offered support to local mayors ahead of the national “Big Debate”, starting today, thanking them for their openness in speaking to residents since the beginning of the gilets jaunes protests.

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