‘It’s not a done deal’: French resistance to cut in speed limit gathers pace

Opposition against an 80km/h speed limit on French countryside roads is growing, with just over two months to go before it is enforced on July 1st.

'It's not a done deal': French resistance to cut in speed limit gathers pace
Photo: AFP

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.


French driver faces prison for giving middle finger to speed camera

French driver faces prison for giving middle finger to speed cameras

Road deaths in France
France has a sorry record for the number of fatal accidents that occur on its roads.
The possible law change comes at a time when road mortality has been on the rise since 2014 — the longest period of sustained increase since 1972.
And it is on the two-way roads outside urban areas, mostly with speed limits of 90 km/h where 55 percent of fatal accidents took place in 2016.
The “excessive or unsuitable” speed was involved in a third (32 percent) of the fatal accidents, according to a report by France Info.
The former Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said previously that one of the primary reasons for the higher toll was increase in road traffic but also drivers taking risks. 
“The rise also reflects an increase in risky behaviour that can lead to serious accident fatalities,” he said. 
The former minister also said French drivers were “too relaxed” when it came to following the road rules, and that many motorists continued to drive “at excessive speed”.
A study in April 2015 from BVA found that 75 percent of French people acknowledged that they don't always stick to the speed limit. 



British drivers caught ‘racing’ at 265km/h on French motorway

Four British drivers have been banned from driving in France after being caught on Sunday by French police racing at speeds of up to 265km/h on a motorway near Calais.

British drivers caught 'racing' at 265km/h on French motorway
Photo: AFP

The drivers were caught on the A26 motorway in northern France just south of Calais, which is called the “Autoroute des Anglais”.

The drivers were travelling in sports cars and were taking part in a unofficial “race” down to Venice in Italy. Up to one hundred sports cars took part on Sunday, the first stage of the “rally” which was due to end in Paris.

In all, some seven British drivers were caught breaking the speed limits, with cars caught travelling between 180km/h and 265km/h, according to a report in the Voix du Nord newspaper.

They were eventually stopped by police at a motorway toll near the Setgues at around 3pm on Sunday.

The Voix du Nord newspaper, which first reported the racers, showed a picture of one of the stopped vehicles bearing logos for the Modball Rally, an 
annual event whose motto is “Drive all day… Party all night!”

Organisers did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the Modball website says this year's rally began Sunday in London en route to 
Paris, the first leg of the rally.

The website says drivers are not supposed to race, but that doesn't stop dozens from competing to be the first to arrive at the daily destinations 
during the week-long event.


Four of them had their driver's licenses immediately confiscated and are to be banned from driving in France for a certain period of time.

The rogue drivers were able to depart along with their cars although they were not allowed to drive them and passengers had to take the wheel. They were also relieved of €750 by French police.

British drivers have a reputation for using French motorways as a Formula 1 track.

This kind of unofficial rally, made famous in the film “Cannonball Run”, sees drivers in Mercedes, Ferraris and other types of sports cars race down through France to various destinations around Europe..

While some drivers respect the speed limits, which on motorways in France is generally 130km/h, but others ignore the rules and prefer to race.

This year's Modball involves 180 modified speedsters heading from London to Paris, Lyon, Monaco, Venice and Vienna, where the rally is set to wrap up on Friday.

The race fee of nearly 3,000 pounds ($4,000) — or 4,000 pounds for the luxury package — also gives participants access to lavish parties, though the 
Modball website stipulates they are not “required to drink alcohol”.

And the organisers insist they do not encourage speeding.

“We focus on the events each night and keep driving time down to ensure safe journeys between cities,” they write on their Facebook page.

In 2015 French police had to draft a helicopter in to intercept a convoy of five speeding British sports cars en route to Spain.

The gendarmes dispatched a helicopter after an off-duty officer spotted a convoy that included Lamborghinis and Porshes hurtling down the A63 motorway near Biarritz.

And in 2013 British drivers' reputation for enjoying letting loose on French motorways was reinforced when seven Britons were flashed at over 190 km/h on the same stretch of motorway over one weekend. One driver's speed, believed to be over 250km/h, even broke a police radar.

In all some half a million British motorists are flashed by speed cameras in France each year. 


Tolls, traffic and speed traps: The motorways in France you might want to avoid