Road Safety In France
Policy in France is changing


France has reportedly had excellent road safety results for 2003. Estimates for deaths reductions currently available range from 20% to 30% in a single year. During 2003 the French have installed their first speed cameras.

Already we have seen the French improvement in road death heralded as a great success story for speed cameras. But what are the basic facts?

  • A 30% reduction in fatalities was already being claimed in Summer 2003.
  • The first speed cameras were not installed until November 2003.
  • Since November 2003 the overall estimates of annual road death reduction appear to have reduced from the 30% estimate to about 20%.
It is clearly entirely unreasonable to attribute any of the French road safety improvement so far reported to speed cameras.
Some press reports:

Guardian, 11th November 2003, "Ministers fall into magazine's speed trap"


"Last year, President Jacques Chirac, launching a road safety drive backed by stiffer penalties and far more police, called France's 8,000 annual road deaths a "national disgrace". Ordinary citizens, at least, have taken heed: the numbers to have died in their cars has fallen by 1,500 over the past 12 months."
EasyJet in flight magazine, January 2004 "Out There"


"One of the pleasures of driving on French motorways is that should you exceed the generous speed limit (130 km/hr) the chance of being caught by the police is slim. Until last month, that is, when the first fixed speed cameras were installed across France. The radars automatiques caught 40,000 speeding motorists in their first three weeks."
... more to follow
French Accident Statistics

... to follow


We applaud the reported French results. And we applaud the intention to provide "far more police".

It is well known that drunk driving has been a major cause of accidents on French roads and we don't doubt that the Police will be effective in tackling the problem over time.

On the figures so far available, there is no justification whatsoever for attributing ANY part of the French improvement to speed cameras. The cameras didn't even exist at the time!

You can't measure safe driving in miles per hour

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Copyright © SafeSpeed 2004
Created 16/02/2004. Last update 16/02/2004