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As road deaths increase, France looks at weakening speed penalties

  • May 26, 2022

The French interior ministry is apparently considering relaxing speed sanctions to only apply the penalty point system for speeding in excess of 5 km/h over the posted speed limit, according to an unnamed source quoted by the AFP news agency.

Today, anyone going above the speed limit can be fined and have points removed from their license.  The fines and amount of penalty points is linked to the level of speeding.  According to the AFP report, drivers caught speeding less than 5 km/h over the limit in future could still receive a fine but not face penalty points.

Road deaths in France have been significantly higher every month of this year compared to 2021, according to official figures.  So it seems a particularly strange time to be considering weakening measures to combat one of the most significant factors in collisions and deaths.

Anne Lavaud, the CEO of Prévention Routière, ETSC’s French member organisation said that any “flexibility around the threshold for speeding“ could be taken as an “invitation to drive faster, at a moment when road death figures are starting to go up again.”

ETSC says that any weakening of speed penalties, could lead to an increase in injury and death because even minor changes to average speeds can have a significant impact on road mortality.

Karima Delli MEP, the chair of the European Parliament’s transport committee tweeted: “Nearly 3000 people lost their lives on the roads in France in 2021. 3000 too many! The Highway Code is a tool that serves to protect lives. Such an idea of the Ministry of the Interior, if it were implemented, would be shameful and harmful for all!”

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