According to a new Axa Prevention poll, a majority of French people (76 %) are against the new measure and 78% go over the speed limits on most roads anyway (down from 83% in 2017).
For the past few months, critics of the new measure have been staging weekend protests across France and more are planned on Saturday.
“It’s not a done deal yet,” Pierre Chasseray, spokesman for the French car lobby 40 million d’Automobilistes told Le Parisien. “The French are against it.”
The government is showing no signs of backing down. It hopes the new speed limit will prevent up to 400 deaths a year in traffic accidents (last year, 3 456 people died in road accidents in the country). With the new measure it also seeks to reassure the French: according to the Axa poll, 83% of French people do not feel safe on roads in France.
The reform, which will see the speed limit reduced from 90km/h to 80km/h on all two-lane highways or specifically “on all secondary roads without a central reservation”, will be implemented from July 1st 2018 until July 1st 2020 as a two-year trial.
At the end of that period further changes may be made, depending on the “effectiveness” of the measure in terms of saving lives and cutting down on injuries, the government has said.