I have just read your story on the speed limit issue (Page 13, April 2018) and the quoted statistics clearly show where the main causes of crashes and road deaths in France lie – between the ears of many French drivers!
Half of them don’t feel safe, but 85% feel unsafe due to bad driving by others, ie they take no personal responsibility for their behaviour behind the wheel.
Road deaths in France will never be reduced with these attitudes. There seems to be a sense of divine immortality which takes over when behind the steering wheel. I’ve heard drivers angrily referring to speed-limits and radars as an ‘infringement of my rights, so no thoughts of other road users having rights as well, like remaining unharmed.
The problem can be addressed by using the right measures, ie ones which catch the offenders and cause enough inconvenience and pain to deter, but no government is prepared to actually do this for fear of electoral backlash.
As for changing the speed limit, it’s useless unless it is monitored and policed – in 15 years in my area I’ve never seen anyone monitoring the speeds on our local roads.
Dangerously fast driving will not change without action in situ rather than relying on rules from above, which simply tick boxes and help politicians sleep at night. The 3,500 death toll a year is widely accepted and tolerated as ‘reasonable collateral damage’ in return for the freedom to drive with low regard for others’ safety.
Nick Purdon, Ille-et-Vilaine