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France's hated 80km/h speed limit could be scrapped after vote in parliament

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France's hated 80km/h speed limit could be scrapped after vote in parliament
Photo: AFP
12:30 CEST+02:00
The French parliament has agreed to allow local officials to decide whether to get rid of the highly controversial 80km/h limit on secondary roads.

The limit was introduced in 2018 and billed as a safety measure, but quickly became the focus of anger among drivers in rural areas, who saw the lowering of the limit from 90 km/h to 80 km/h as a way for the government to make money out of speeding fines.

The issue became one of the early rallying cries of the 'yellow vest' movement and thousands of speed cameras around the country were vandalised - at one point is was estimated that 80 percent of the country's fixed cameras were out of action.

READ ALSO Is your département planning on scrapping the 80km/h limit?

Eventually last month Prime Minister Edouard Philippe bowed to pressure and said he would allow local officials to decide whether the limit in their area should be 80 km/h or 90 km/h.

He said: "If the presidents of departmental councils wish to assume their responsibilities, I have no problem with that."

This week an amendment to France's wide-ranging loi d'orientation des mobilités transport bill that would devolve the issue to local official was approved by the Assemblée Nationale.

However, before drivers in rural areas put their foot down, the amendment still needs to go through several stages to become law, and the ultimate decision rests with local authorities.

While many have indicated that they will change it back some say they are concerned about safety implications.

Philippe's announcement has a sting in the tail for local authorities, as he added that a change: "must be "systematically accompanied by measures" guaranteeing "the highest possible level of road safety". 

 
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