Road deaths dropped by 7.8% in January 2018
Road deaths in January this year were down by 7.8% compared to January 2017, and there were fewer fatalities overall in 2017 compared to the three previous years of consecutive rises, figures show.
Road safety agency la Sécurité Routière announced that 235 people had been killed on the roads in France in January 2018; 20 fewer than in January 2017.
The January 2018 figures follow a positive 2017.
Last year saw a slight drop in road deaths, with 3,693 people killed on the roads in total in 2017; a drop of 1.2% compared to 2016. This equates to 45 fewer road deaths in 2017 overall.
These figures suggest that France could be emerging from its recent three “black years”, in which the numbers of road deaths rose consecutively in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The three-year consecutive rise - which had not been seen since 1972 - followed a positive 2013, in which a record low of 3,427 people were killed.
The number of people injured in road traffic accidents was also down in January 2018.
According to figures from l’Observatoire National Interministériel de la Sécurité Routière, the first month of 2018 recorded 5,418 people as injured in road traffic accidents.
This marked a 5.9% drop, equating to 318 fewer people injured in January this year compared to January 2017.
The subject of road deaths has been in the spotlight recently, as the government is set to reduce speed limits on national main roads from 90kph to 80kph by July 1 this year, as part of a raft of 18 new road safety measures.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has claimed that the controversial change could save 350-400 lives per year across 400,000 km of road by 2020.
Yet, critics of the scheme dispute this, saying that it is driver behaviour that causes death, injury and dangerous driving, and not the speed limit itself.
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France