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.
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.
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.