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France gives go ahead for driverless car tests on roads

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France gives go ahead for driverless car tests on roads
Photo: AFP
15:02 CEST+02:00
The French government gave the green light on Wednesday for driverless cars to take to France's roads.
The future is here. Or at least it's on its way. 
 
This week the French government authorized driverless cars to have access to France's roads as part of a trial period. 
 
Authorities hope, in the long run, the move will lead to fewer accidents on France's roads and fewer motorist deaths. 
 
The government said the cars were "an indispensable step towards a peaceful mobility, regulated and secure traffic, and transport that is both more efficient and more environmentally friendly".
 
"These cars are the future the automotive industry," the government said in the statement. 
 
It stressed that the move only represented an "experimental phase" to prepare for "the mobility of tomorrow".
 
Self-driving cars are hoped to cut back on the number of deaths on the road, particularly those related to alcohol and drug use, fatigue, or distracted drivers. 
 
 
It remains unknown exactly how many cars will take to the roads and how long the test period will run. 
 
But the news may be welcomed by many, not least considering France's focus on road safety.
 
Indeed, France has been treating road safety as a priority ever since 2014 marked the first year in over a decade that the number of people dying on the roads had risen, with 3,384 deaths. To make matters worse, 2015 saw the mortality rate increase again.
 
In response, France rolled out dozens of safety measures like adding an additional 500 fixed speed cameras and 10,000 dummy cameras.
 
France has also experimented with lowering the speed limit on several rural roads from 90km/h to 80km/h, and cracked down on drink-driving by lowering the legal limit for young drivers to zero.
 
Other recent laws included making it obligatory for child cyclists to wear helmets and motorbike riders to wear gloves.
 

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