A total of 368 deaths were recorded on the roads, a drop of 3.9 percent on the 2010 August figure of 383. Road accident casualties requiring hospital treatment also fell, from 2,715 in August 2010 to 2,188 this year.
The news was welcome relief for road safety authorities after a series of bad figures earlier in the year pushed the level of deaths above the 2010 total. In 2010, the number of deaths fell for the first time below the 4,000 barrier. Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to get the number down to below 3,000 in 2012.
Taken as a whole, 18 more people have been killed in 2011 compared with the same point last year.
The summer’s encouraging results were “the result of a strong mobilization by police, particularly around the time of holidays and in bad weather,” said Sécurité Routière.
Overall, France has made huge improvements in road safety over the last decade. A report by the European Commission in July 2010 showed the number of fatalities on French roads falling by 48 percent between 2001 and 2009. This was better than the European average of 36 percent.
Overall, the report said there were 67 deaths per million inhabitants on the country’s roads in 2009. This compared to an EU average of 69, with the safest countries being the UK (38), Sweden (39) and the Netherlands (39) and the worst Romania (130) and Poland (120).