DESPITE road deaths falling markedly over summer – down 11.6% in July and 7.1% in August – the yearly toll is still on the rise, with 2,132 fatalities since January.
The 603 deaths in July and August were 9.5% down on 2013 and is the lowest summer death toll since statistics started being kept in 1948 and also saw accidents down 11% and injuries down 11.7%.
However, the summer was marked by several very serious crashes that may have had a marked impact on drivers’ awareness. One in July saw five people die when a lorry crashed into a car in Meuse, another the same month in Aube had six dead, including five children.
Pierre Chasseray, of motorists’ group 40 Millions d'Automobilistes, said the fall was due to changes in driver habits and improved vehicle safety, but Chantal Perrichon, of road safety pressure group Ligue Contre la Violence Routière, said it was more due to “rotten” summer weather and the increase in new-generation speed cameras in unmarked police cars.
Jean-Robert Lopez, of Sécurité Routière agency, credited the government’s publicity campaign and increased policing on the roads along the sobering effect of the two serious accidents in July.
Photo: Vincent Desjardins - CC BY 2.0