New French road safety campaign targets macho male drivers

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 8 Feb, 2023 Updated Wed 8 Feb 2023 13:30 CEST
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France's road safety body has launched a new campaign aimed at reducing the number of deaths among men by discouraging them from any risky, macho behaviour behind the wheel.


"Be the man you want to be, but be a living man" is the slogan of France's latest road safety campaign, which launched on Wednesday.

The campaign is targeting male drivers, who represent 78 percent of people killed on French roads in 2022, according to a recent report on road safety.

Seeking to target aspects of masculinity that might push male motorists to engage in reckless driving, the new campaign will consist of a short video by French director Rémi Bezançon, who made films like "The first day of the rest of your life".

The clip shows a child being born in a hospital, and later the father talking to his baby son. It ends with the words, "Be the man you want to be but be a living man. 8 out of 10 deaths on the road are men. "


The video will be broadcast on French television channels, on the internet, and in movie theatres starting on Wednesday.

On the launch page for the campaign, France's road safety body cited a study carried out by two sociologists titled "Masculinity and road risks", authored in part by Alain Mergier, the new safety campaign asked the hypothetical question: "What if we had to add masculinity to the list of risk factors that contribute to road accidents?" alongside highlighted text that read "It is urgent to free men from the social expectations that encourage them to associate manliness with risk-taking when driving".

READ MORE: ‘Aggressive drivers’: Why cycling in rural France is becoming more dangerous

Risk-taking and masculinity

Based on the 2022 road safety report, men represented 88 percent of young drivers killed, 84 percent of those presumed responsible for fatal accidents, and 93 percent of drunk drivers.

Franceinfo also spoke with the head of a transportation company in Seine-Saint-Denis, Fouad. He said that he has noticed gendered differences in behaviour on the roads.

"I have about 15 drivers, and three of them are women", Fouad told Franceinfo.

"I've never had a problem with the women because they are more concentrated behind the wheel. For example, one of my female drivers has worked for me for fifteen years and I've only had to change a bumper once."

Fouad went on to explain that 90 percent of driving related accidents - from fender-benders to speeding - are "done by the men".

Sociologist Alain Mergier, spoke to Franceinfo about the importance of the educational campaign, and the presence of gendered stereotypes that may lead men to believe they have a natural aptitude in regard to driving.

"Whether at 60 years old or at 18 years old, the stereotypes are the same. Boys are raised around cars. They are taught to have a feeling that they innately know how to drive, and that they are masters of their cars".

In the short educational video, French actor Pio Marmaï tells the audience - and his newborn son - "You don't have to follow what people expect of a man. Write the man you want to be".



The Local 2023/02/08 13:30

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rmcigich 2023/02/15 03:40
I’m sorry but women are a problem behind the wheel. They refuse to backup! I have driven all over France and not once has a woman driver backed up when she has clogged a turning lane. The women are the most stubborn drivers! The men will work with you but a woman never will!

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