Why it’s a particularly bad idea to speed in France this July and August

The so-far significant falls in fatal accidents this year are under threat ahead of the holiday hotspot.

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They might smile, and let you take their picture, but they will still take your licence, and €750 for speeding more than 31mph over the limit

They might let you take their picture but they’ll have your licence and a lot of your money. While licences are normally confiscated for offences more than 50kmh over the limit, theoretically they can be taken away at anything over 30kmh.

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Fatal traffic accidents in France fell 27% in March, 15% in April and 29.5% in May compared to the same months in 2012.

It’s a stellar performance which sees France on the way to achieving its target of cutting road deaths to under 2,000 by 2020, down from 3,645 last year (itself a record).

The minister in charge Manuel Valls says the reductions wouldn’t have happened without speed cameras. There are 4,000 in total including 400 new unmarked cameras.

Particularly striking is how the figures dropped after the well-publicised introduction of unmarked Renaut Megane police cars packing radar guns in March (road deaths were down 8.8% in January and actually rose 6.5% in February). Over 15,000 drivers have been nabbed so far.

It’s not all good news though. Fatal motorbike accidents fell just 3.6% (albeit to under 300 for the first time).

Impressive as the falls have been – representing a total of 257 lives saved, 75% of them drivers – the overall reduction for the first half of 2013 is a more modest 15%. In part that’s because in June – as more holiday traffic took to the roads – the reduction fell to 10.4%.

The issue now is that July and August traditionally account for 20% of all road deaths in France. Monsieur Valls has put police on notice to be extra vigilant on speeding offences.

With foreign registered cars said to be responsible for 50% of speeding offences during the summer (25% overall), like it or not, you are top of the list.

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For more, read our Driving in France 2013 feature ‘Everything we Know’.

source: Securite Routiere.

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