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Speed limits may be cut by 10kph

Minister says reduction is ‘unavoidable’ despite 15% fall in number of road deaths in 2013

SPEED limits on major roads and in town could be reduced in a move to reduce accidents and cut pollution.

Speaking ahead of one of the most difficult weekends for drivers with tens of thousands of families taking to the roads for summer holiday, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said a speed reduction seemed “unavoidable”.

Mr Valls was announcing the road accident figures for the first six months of 2013, which showed a 15.1% drop in road deaths, down from 1,697 in the same period in 2012 to 1,440.

He said that as 26% of accidents were due to speed “a reduction of speed limits on major roads, other roads and in town is unavoidable”.

Mr Valls cited Spain, where a similar measure had seen total annual road death figures fall below the symbolic 1,500 barrier, and his plans could mean a 10kph cut in speeds on motorways from 130kph to 120kph and from 90kph to 80kph on other major roads.

The move could also be imposed on the Périphérique in Paris, with a 70kph limit rather than the present 80kph. This move would be welcomed by Paris mayor Bernard Delanoë, who has campaigned for such a measure to stop pollution and to cut noise nuisance.

Road safety campaigner Chantal Perrichon, of the Ligue Contre Violence Routière, welcomed the plans and said it was the only way that Mr Valls could hit his target of reducing road deaths to below 2,000 by 2020.

This weekend is another difficult weekend for drivers and roads agency Bison Futé advises drivers to avoid leaving major cities today between 16.00 and 20.00 (7.00 to 21.00 in Ile-de-France) and to stay clear of motorways in the north-east between 14.00 and 18.00 and from 15.00-21.00 in the rest of the country.

It has declared an orange alert for driving conditions today – and red for tomorrow, although Sunday is green.
Photo: © Vinci Autoroutes

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