Last month I wrote about the prudent initiative in France where the speed on secondary roads has now been cut back from 90 km/h to 80 km/h on the 400,000 kilometers of these roads. “Fifty-five percent of all road deaths occur on these Class “B” roads that have no central divider or guard rail. In 32 percent of the fatalities on these secondary roads the major factor was speed.”
And if you were wondering, France has 5.1 road deaths per 100,000 population; Canada has more at 6.0 road deaths per 100,000.
As The Guardian observed “The government has compared the 80 km/h limit…to the laws enacted since 1973 requiring the use of seat belts, and the installation of automatic speed radars in 2002. Those laws also drew the ire of thousands of drivers, but contributed to nearly four decades of declines in automobile deaths in France, which reached a historic low of 3,268 in 2013.”
The reaction in France was mixed, with motoring and car clubs vehemently against the speed reductions, and in December 60 percent of the speed cameras had been vandalised.
It has now been estimated that 75 percent of the cameras have been tampered with. And no surprise, the French government has now been able to show a “direct link” between the destruction of the cameras and increased road carnage deaths on French highways.
France’s Minister of the Interior bluntly stated that hidden radar while not photographing vehicles continued to record speed, showing a 400 percent increase in speed in December, with four times more speed violations. That resulted in 238 people dying on French highways in January 2019 an increase of nine deaths from road crash fatalities of January 2018.The vandalism of the speed cameras is estimated to cost 50 million euros to repair, and the government estimates a loss of 500 million euros in fines.
It is a crime to vandalize a speed camera, resulting in a fine up to 100,000 euros and seven years in jail. The reduced speed initiative was challenged with the “yellow vest” protests which started in November. While France was celebrating a “historic low” of 3,259 road deaths in 2018, reduced from 3,448 deaths in 2017, road carnage is now increasing commensurate with increased speed on secondary roads. No one is putting a price on the increased lives lost as a result of the vandalism.
Images: Dailymail.uk, rtl.fr.