French road deaths rise for first time in 12 years

French road deaths rise for first time in 12 years
Over 3,300 people died on the roads in France in 2014. Photo: AFP
More people died on France's roads in 2014 than the year before, new statistics revealed on Thursday, marking the first time in 12 years that the figure had risen.
The official road fatality statistics from 2014 were released on Thursday and they don't make for pleasant reading.
Last year, 3,384 people died in traffic accidents, marking an increase of 3.5 percent (or 116 more people) compared to 2013. There were a further 35,000 people who were seriously injured, of whom 14,000 were under the age of 30.
Alcohol played a part in 28 percent of the deaths in 2014, while drugs were involved in 23 percent. 
Most astounding, perhaps, was the fact that one in five people who died wasn't wearing a seat belt.
Scooter and motorbike riders were very much over-represented in the stats. Even though they only account for 2 percent of France's traffic, bike riders accounted for 23 percent of the total deaths and 43 percent of the serious injuries.
Unfortunately, research suggests that the statistics may continue in the same direction. 
A study in April found that the behind the wheel habits of the French are deteriorating. The study, carried out by the Axa Prevention insurance company, was based on interviews with hundreds of drivers across the country about their behaviour on the road.
“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.

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