• France's news in English

French drivers getting worse, says new report

Ben McPartland · 2 Apr 2015, 09:28

Published: 02 Apr 2015 09:28 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Whether it's talking on the telephone, drink driving, skipping red lights or speeding, the French are ignoring the rules of the road in greater numbers.

An annual study published by the Axa Prevention insurance company concluded that drivers in France are getting worse.

The study was based on interviews with hundreds of drivers across the country about their behaviour on the road with the insurance company concluding that there was a general deterioration in their respect for the rules.

“Even though there are more speed cameras and as many safe-driving campaigns that are well publicized, we can see a real deterioration,” said Eric Lemaire, head of Axa Prevention.

His company’s report shows that more drivers admit to using their mobile phones behind the wheel, including for texting as well as for using the phone’s GPS.

Perhaps the most worrying statistic is the rise in the number of motorists who admit to getting behind the wheel after having a drink.

READ ALSO: How French motorists drive expats crazy

Even if a large majority of people realize that driving after two drinks is dangerous, 28 percent of respondents admitted to doing it, a slight rise on the 26 percent last year.

Drivers in France are also more likely to stay behind the wheel for long periods of time - up to four or five hours - without taking a break.

Other stats in the report showed that drivers were more likely to go through red lights and break the speed limit.

Although surprisingly for anyone having lived in Paris fewer drivers are resorting to the use of their horn.

For Axa’s Eric Lemaire, the deterioration in driving behaviour is hard to explain, but perhaps can be put down to a certain French attitude towards crack downs by authorities, which “end up bearing less fruit”.

He also blames a lot of the problems on mobile phones, which is resulting in drivers taking less caution.

“Sending texts and using a GPS both contribute to drivers paying less attention on the roads,” he said.

The Local's readers, many of whom know all about the hazards of driving in France, reacted to the report on Twitter on Thursday.


Story continues below…



Axa’s survey comes at a time when the number of deaths on France’s roads has shown a worrying rise.

A total of 3,103 people died by the end of November 2015, 148 more than at the same period in 2013.

In all road deaths in 2014 rose by around five percent compared to the previous year.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available