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Road deaths up 20 per cent

Sharp rise announced as parliament votes through relaxation of driving points law

ROAD deaths in January were up 20 per cent in comparison with last year.

The sharp rise threatens to undermine the government's aim to reduce the number of fatalities on French roads to less than 3,000 this year.
The number of deaths reached 320, compared to 267 last year.

Motoring lobbyists the associations de lutte contre la violence routières said drivers had received mixed signals over the law regarding driving points.

The National Assembly and Senate have repeatedly added and overturned amendments to relax the law on the recuperation of driving licence points.
The latest version of the law, approved by parliament last night, makes it quicker to recuperate points (the French system deducts points from a starting number of 12).

To regain one point will now take six months instead of a year; motorists will be allowed to take courses to recuperate points every year instead of two; and regaining all 12 points will take two years instead of three.

A three-year driving ban will remain in place for what are deemed category four or five crimes, such as severely breaking the speed limit or drink driving.

The president of the Ligue contre la violence routière, Chantal Perrichon, told radio RMC: "For months now the French people have heard that the points system will be relaxed, forgetting that it was an effective system for saving lives."

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Story: Road death toll falls below 4,000

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