NEWS: As predicted, fatal traffic accidents in France rise significantly for the second month in succession. Plus, the fallout from the Paris pollution crisis, weekend road closures in France, Luxembourg and Germany, dastardly manoeuvres to slow EU plans for safer trucks, and a pan-Europe rally for electric cars gets underway tomorrow, as Mille Miglia 2014 moves into day two and Jaguar reveals the prototype of its upcoming XE compact sports saloon.
GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH: no queues for most of the day then 45mins all evening. The queues we list here are all Gibraltar>Spain because there’s no way to check on the Spanish side (click the link to see Gibraltar queues or see @RGPolice). A spokesman for the Gibraltar government told us this week the average delay crossing from Spain to Gibraltar has been 60mins in the last fortnight.
FRANCE: ANOTHER BIG RISE IN ROAD DEATHS
More police on the roads for Ascension and Pentecost holidays
Traffic accident deaths increased significantly again last month though the rise was not as great as might have been expected.
After falling 15% in April 2013 compared to the year previously, fatalities rose by 8.1% in April 2014 according to the latest figures from Securite Routiere.
This follows an increase in fatal traffic accidents of 28% in March 2014.
Acknowledging the significant rise, Securite Routiere says, ‘The fight against road accidents must be permanent. Any relaxation in behaviour has consequences on safety.’ It warns of increased traffic police presence on the long holiday weekends of Ascension (Thursday 29 May) and Pentecost (Monday 9 June).
As previously reported, the introduction of unmarked police radar cars in March 2013 led immediately to big falls in serious traffic accidents. However, the effect quickly wore off. No new enforcement initiatives this year inevitably means big rises are to be expected.
The cut in April 2013 was modest compared to the months either side. Fatalities fell by 27% in March 2013 and 29.5% in May 2013. Still, nobody could say Franc is a dangerous place to drive. At 53 deaths per million inhabitants last year it’s dead on the European average.
Meanwhile: did the one-day car ban during March’s ‘Paris Pollution Crisis’ work or not? Depends who you read. Speaking to The Connexion yesterday, NGO Airparif said the resulting 6% fall in particulate emissions was a ‘quantifiable and visible impact’. To RFI English however the pollution body said next time a ban on heavy emitting vehicles would be needed to ‘improve the results’. As previously reported, new mayor Anne Hidalgo will present a new anti-pollution plan on Monday 19 May.
roundup: FRANCE. The A75 Millau Viaduct in the south will close from 08:30-13:30 on Sunday for a running event. LUXEMBOURG. Both the A4 and A7 will be closed at times over the weekend, see full details here. GERMANY. Meanwhile the A8 Stuttgart>Munich is closed for a total of nine weekends this summer starting tonight, from J59-61 Mulhausen-Merklingen, from Friday at 22:00 until Sunday 21:00. That’s on top of 350 other road work sites across the country, on main routes, but none are closures, this weekend anyway. TRUCKS. France and Sweden, home to Volvo and Renault trucks respectively – both belong to the same company – are reportedly behind a move to hold up the new EU plan for safer trucks. The countries are said to be lobbying to have the new standards – which include new rounder cabs to lessen wind resistance and improve fuel economy and visibility – postponed for ten years, until 2025. ELECTRIC RALLY. Over 1,000 EVs are expected in Munich tomorrow to start a nine country, nine-day 2,500 mile rally around the continent. See etoureurope.eu