French Parliament agrees to raise speed limit of 80 kph
On Thursday 7th of June the French Parliament voted to ease the 80 kph speed limit on certain secondary roads, leaving it up to the departments and mayors to adapt the speed. The 80 km/h speed reduction was one of the triggers of the “yellow vest” crisis.
The reduction of the speed from 90 to 80 kph, concerning about 400,000 kilometres of roads, had been decided by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and applied as of 1 July 2018. The aim was to save “300 to 400 lives per year” after an increase in road deaths between 2014 and 2016, followed by a decrease in 2017.
Highest possible level of road safety
But in response to the outcry among motorists, motorcyclists and elected officials, the head of government decided mid-May to revise the measure. Local authorities (heads of department and mayors) can adapt the speed limit and raise it to 90 kph again.
“If the heads of department wish to assume their responsibilities, I have no problem with that. However, it should systematically be accompanied by measures guaranteeing the highest possible level of road safety”, Edouard Philippe added.
Also for national roads?
The opposition (led by the French Republican Party) also calls for the national roads to be brought under the authority of the local authorities as well. They claim the 80 kph measure is “bullshit and the symbol of a two-speed France which was the detonator of the long weeks of crisis”.
The French Minister of Transport, Elisabeth Borne, does not believe that local authorities should deviate from the decisions taken by national ministers. “It is about saving lives. In the second half of 2018, 127 lives were saved thanks to the 80 kph decision”, she concludes.