Charente department to raise speed limit on roads (as rest of France cuts it)

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Charente department to raise speed limit on roads (as rest of France cuts it)
Photo: AFP

Just a few months after the speed limit was lowered on a large portion of France's countryside and secondary roads -- much to the anger of a large number of motorists -- the Charente department is rebelling by allowing motorists to put their foot down on certain roads.


When the speed limit was cut from 90km/h to 80km/h on much of France's countryside and secondary roads in July -- in an effort to save lives -- there were a lot of people who weren't happy about it. 
And it turns out that among those fuming over the move was president of Charente department François Bonneau. 
So, in response, he has decided to make some changes to speed limit of his own and will be increasing it on some roads in Charente -- an area very popular with Brits in the west of France -- from 70 km/h to 80 km/h. 
Bonneau has dressed up his plan as a way of creating more consistency on the roads in his area although he had previously said that the speed limit change in July was an "arbitrary" one that would be very expensive for communities and ignored the ways of rural France. 
So far, the speed limit has increased from 70 km/h to 80 km/h in 12 areas in the Charente and within six months, checks will be carried out in 480 other areas to see if it is makes sense to raise the speed limit there too. 
The department of Bouches-du-Rhone in the south of France has made the same decision, and according to Bonneau, others will do the same thing.
The speed limit change introduced in July was part of the French government's drive to improve road safety in France which has a bad record when it comes to fatal accidents, especially on the country's secondary road network.
A report released in April by France's observatory of road safety ONISR, looked at road deaths between 2012 and 2016 on the country's two-lane roads outside of urban areas, in other words in the countryside.
Out of 9,579 deaths on the roads 762 were on routes nationales, so the main roads after motorways, 8,221 were on route departementales, so secondary roads, and 596 were on smaller countryside roads.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe believes the move will save 300 to 400 lives a year. Critics of the cut in the speed limit don't agree.

France has changed the speed limit: Here's what you need to knowPhoto: AFP



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