French road deaths hit record summer low

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French road deaths hit record summer low
Traffic flows freely on the motorway near Montpellier. File photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

Fewer people were killed on French roads this summer than any other summer since records began in 1948, new figures show.


The number of fatalities on French roads fell from 322 last August to 299 for the same month this year, the French road safety authority said on Thursday.

Combined figures for July and August were also encouraging; in all, 603 people were killed on the roads, down 9.5 percent on the previous summer period.

The number of people injured on the roads in August was also down; a total of 5,333 injuries represented a seven-percent drop since last year.

Figures for the first eight months of the year were less heartening however, with 49 more deaths than the same period last year.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the overall rise in the first eight months of 2014 “means we must redouble our efforts” to improve road safety.

The number of fatalities on France's roads reached an all-time low last year.

In total there were 3,250 fatalities on French roads in 2013. The rate of fatalities has been falling gradually since 1972, a black year on France's roads when 18,000 people were killed.

Cazeneuve’s predecessor as France’s top cop, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, vowed to improve France's checkered road safety record when the Socialist government came to power in 2012.

He took various measures to improve road safety, including rolling out new mobile speed cameras and cutting speed limits on roads including the notorious périphérique.


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