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Speed limits now raised back up to 90km/h by most French departments

Local authorities have been assessing the risk and increasing limits since regaining control of secondary road speeds

Fifty departments have exercised their right to return the speed limit from 80km/h to its previous level of 90km/h Pic: Henry Sy John / Shutterstock

More than half of France’s departments have now raised the speed limit on secondary roads to 90km/h, according to the latest list compiled by drivers’ association the Ligue de Défense des Conducteurs.

Fifty departments have exercised their right to return the speed limit to its previous level, after it was lowered to 80km/h on all secondary roads except dual carriageways in 2018.

Since 2019, departmental authorities have had the power to return to 90km/h, but they must first undertake a study evaluating the accident risk on the stretches in question. 

Read more: How to keep track of changing speed limits on French secondary roads

Plans for Gard, Morbihan and Yonne 

The 90km/h limit now applies to 54,836km of road, according to calculations by the association.

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is the latest area to join the list, raising speed limits on 4% of its network. 

In 25 departments, the limit was raised on less than 10% of roads.

Two more departments – Gard and Morbihan – have announced they are considering making the change. 

In Yonne, there are currently 411km at 90km/h, but this will be extended from November to an additional 1,091km.

Accident study dismissed by drivers’ group

Only seven departments have so far chosen to apply the increase to all eligible roads: Puy-de-Dôme, Aveyron, Allier, Corrèze, Creuse, Cantal and Ardèche. These areas tend to be rural and not densely populated.

Read more: Has reducing the French speed limit to 80km/h saved lives?

A study from a government research body found that lowering to 80km/h saved 349 lives between July 2018 and February 2020. 

The Ligue de Défense des Conducteurs claims the study was biased and failed to prove that the speed limit was the main factor.

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