Is France about to scrap its highly unpopular 80 km/h speed limit?

The French government has indicated that it may bow to pressure over the highly unpopular 80 km/h speed limit on secondary roads.

Is France about to scrap its highly unpopular 80 km/h speed limit?
Many speed cameras have been vandalised. Photo: AFP

The 80 km/h speed limit on was introduced as a safety measure, but it has proved highly unpopular and one of the major complaints of the 'yellow vest' movement.

Many of the people living in rural areas in France see the limit as nothing more than a way for the government to make money from them via speeding fines, and speed cameras became a major target for the 'yellow vests' in the early days of the movement.

In fact the government estimated that at one point 80 percent of the country's speed cameras had been torched, covered up or otherwise vandalised by 'yellow vests'.


Edouard Philippe indicated that he was willing for local governments to decide on the issue. Photo: AFP

The government insists that the new measure was about safety and an attempt to cut the number of road deaths in France.

But now it seems that the government may be bowing to the pressure. 

On Thursday Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told France Info that he would be willing to devolve the issue to local government offices.

“If the presidents of departmental councils wish to assume their responsibilities, I have no problem with that,” he said, but added that this was on the condition that this must be “systematically accompanied by measures” guaranteeing “the highest possible level of road safety”.

The new limit, down from 90 km/h, was introduced in July 2018 and applies to secondary routes in France – not motorways – which are mainly in rural areas.

The number of deaths on the roads in France fell to a historic low in 2018 with 3,259 people killed, which the government claimed as a victory for the new measures.

However in January and February of this year the casualty figures began climbing again, a state of affairs blamed by the government on the vandalising of the speed cameras.

A poll has shown that the majority of people in France – particularly those who live in rural areas – want the measures scrapped.


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France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier