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Speed displays to 'educate' drivers

Preventative approach follows protests about government decision to remove speed-trap warning signs

ONE THOUSAND new speed display signs are to be installed along roadsides in France in a bid to "educate" drivers about the dangers of speeding.

The interactive boards - called radars pédagogiques - show drivers how fast they are travelling, with the speed displayed in red if they are over the limit, but they do not issue fines or deduct licence points.

The move comes after MPs protested about tough new road safety measures announced earlier this month, including the end of signs giving advance warning of speed traps.

Interior minister Claude Guéant said the extra speed displays would start to be installed this week on dangerous stretches of road - including some streets where speed cameras already operate - with a target of 1,000 new boards by next year.

However he said the government would not go back on the previously announced plans, and speed-trap warning signs would still be dug up and removed.

Road safety campaign groups are divided over whether the preventative speed displays will work.

Chantal Perrichon, president of the Ligue Contre la Violence Routière, told France Info: "These radars will only convince those who are already convinced - the 90 per cent of people who still have been 10 and 12 points [out of 12, on their licence]."

Victimes et Citoyens, an association set up to help road accident victims, has lobbied the interior ministry for the new signs to be installed for several months. The group's vice-president Vincent Julé said: "This won't save thousands of lives, but it's an extra tool. When a motorist enters a town and they are told they are driving 15kph over the speed limit, the normal response is to slow down."

The government's road safety initiative follows four months of increasing numbers of deaths on the roads. The number of people killed in road accidents in April was up 20 per cent on last year, at 355.

Last year 3,994 people died in road accidents across France. Sarkozy had aimed to bring the figure below the 3,000 mark by 2012.

Related stories:
Sarkozy lays down law of the road
Extra police plea to cut road deaths
4.6 million speed camera fines
Tougher penalties to cut road deaths

Photo: Cha Gia Jose/Flickr

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