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Government unveils 18 new road safety measures

Bid to clamp down on speed, alcohol and phone use - in a bid to “act on drivers’ behaviour”.

The most obvious change announced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to “effectively decrease the number of severe accidents” will be the already-announced speed limit cut from 90kph to 80kph, on main roads where the carriageways are not separated by a physical barrier.

This will come into force from July 1, affecting more than 400,000km of roads across the country, as reported by Le Monde.

The slowdown is expected to save 350-400 lives per year, according to government estimates. This number will be monitored and its success (or lack thereof) re-evaluated come July 2020, Philippe confirmed.

France has a higher-than-average road accident toll among EU nations, with Malta, Sweden, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Finland, Slovakia and Estonia having lower levels, according to figures from statistics bureau INSEE.

The cost of changing road markings and signposts from 90kph to 80kph will be “entirely taken on by the State,” Mr Philippe added.

Another change will concern alcohol.

Any driver that is stopped and has their vehicle confiscated due to excess alcohol in the blood for the second time, will only be able to get their car back if they take a medical test, and if their car is then fitted with a breathalyser device that prevents it from starting if the driver has too much alcohol in their system.

Similarly, anyone who is found to be driving while drugged or who has more than 0.8 grams of alcohol in their blood will see their car “immediately” impounded for seven days.

Mr Philippe also targeted drivers using mobile phones saying police will be allowed to confiscate driving licences “on the spot” if they see a driver using a phone and committing a driving offence while doing so.

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