With 290 Killed, Road Deaths Explode in August 2019

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With 290 killed, road deaths explode in August 2019

According to Road Safety figures, the number of road deaths jumped by 17.9% in August 2019, reviving the debate on the limitation to 80 km/h.

The spectacular increase in road deaths on the roads of France in August (+ 17.9%) again fueled the debate between pro and anti 80km/h: the authorities see there the persistent effect of the destruction of radars when others still dispute the effectiveness of the measure from which they have obtained the next relaxation.

This is the largest increase since January: last month, 290 people lost their lives on metropolitan roads, 44 more than in August 2018.

Busy month on the roads

“More than 40 dead, it’s not nothing, it does not leave indifferent,” told AFP Emmanuel Barbe, interministerial delegate for road safety, expressing a “deep sadness”.

2019 now accounts for 35 more deaths than last year, marked by a “historic” drop in road deaths in metropolitan France recorded in 2018 (3248 killed, 3488 with Overseas).

The curve of August, a month traditionally loaded on the roads, is traced back to that of the first quarter which had recorded 63 killed more than in 2018.

At the time, Road Safety had blamed these bad numbers for “slackening behaviours” after the destruction of radar – 75% of the park according to the government – during the movement of “yellow vests”.

The destruction of the radars in question, according to the government

At the beginning of July, the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner assured that “the essential” of the devices located “in the axis of the mobility of the holidays (were) operational”.

The argument still remains valid for Emmanuel Barbe, “the network of radars is far from being repaired, there are still some that are degraded”. Deployed since the spring, new generation radar such as the radars-turrets, supposedly more resistant because perched on masts 4 meters high, have already been degraded, according to Road Safety.

“It has effects on speed. The radars that work flash a lot and absorb some of the activity of those degraded, “says Mr. Barbe. The bill of destruction, cumulating costs of repairs and loss of revenue for the State, was estimated at 360 million euros.

“Blur” on the 80km/h

For the association of 40 million motorists, this rise is proof of the inefficiency of the limitation to 80km/h of speed on secondary roads, in force since July 2018, supposed to save up to 400 lives per year.

The measure, criticised by the yellow vests and local officials, saved 206 lives in its first year of application, according to Road Safety estimates.

“The teaching is that the 80 km/h does not work and we still have not found the right measures,” says the general delegate of the association Pierre Chasseray, which advocates “prevention campaigns around the phone while driving, alcohol and driving while under the influence of drugs. ”


For others, it is rather the green light given before the summer by the government for a relaxation of the measure that is responsible for the rise.

To appease the anger of anti-80 km / h, the executive conceded in May to presidents of county councils the power to raise the maximum speed allowed on certain roads, in the future law of orientation of the mobilities (LOM) re-discussed at from Tuesday to the National Assembly.

“This debate on the legitimacy of the 80km/h left a blur settle so that speed has become (for motorists) a factor not as important as alcohol while it is the first cause of death on the road “Indignant Chantal Perrichon, president of the League against road violence.

It calls for “stop the financial mismanagement around fixed speed cameras”, suggesting “finally generalise” the radars embedded in unmarked cars, still in the experimental phase in several regions.

“This dramatic rise occurs when the government announces the return to 90 km/h in the departments who want it,” says Me Jehanne Collard, lawyer of the victims of the road. “Motorists immediately saw this decision as a step back from the government,” which is “immediately paid for in human life”.

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