a balance sheet truncated by confinement, strikes and yellow vests

Two years ago, day for day, the 80 km / h rule came into effect on 466,000 km of national and departmental roads as well as 571,000 km of secondary network tracks. This measure was supposed to save “300 to 400 lives per year” according to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

At the time, we were talking about a two-year “experiment”, with a “review clause” scheduled for July 1, 2020. In fact, nothing has changed on this date since the decree which sets the limit at 80 km / h does not refer to this two-year period *. This summer, the speed will not change on roads without a central separator, unless the departments choose (read below).

Can we take stock of the 80 km / h?

A two-year review of the 80 km / h will be published. But what value will it have? Indeed, difficult to judge the effectiveness of such a measure when many events have come to disrupt the situation. First: the movement of yellow vests which caused the destruction of radars in a mess, but did not encourage motorists to accelerate either. Other elements to take into account: the transport strike, end of 2019, and the two months of confinement this year which strongly impacted road traffic.

Moreover, the Center for Studies and Expertise on Risks, Environment, Mobility and Planning (Cerema) – in charge of drawing official conclusions – would still be at work, because it must take into account the sharp drop in road mortality linked in particular to traffic restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic (-39.6% in March, -55.8% in April, -15.6% in May). “Should we neutralize the two months of confinement? If so, how? If not, how to pass on the induced effect on mortality? It is under consideration to propose the most honest assessment possible, knowing that it is a subject of controversy, “said a source familiar with the matter to AFP.

The return of 90 km / h since December 2019 ….

In addition, since December 2019, the presidents of the departments have had the possibility of passing certain sections 90 km away. According to recent news from Auto Plus, more than 15,000 km of roads will see their speed increase from 80 to 90 km / h, as of summer, in 16 departments. 6 other departments, among which Hérault and Loiret, will be there as of the start of the school year. On the other hand, for 32 departments including Loire-Atlantique, Gironde or even Var, it is niet. “Some are just opposed to the measure, others deplore the too strict conditions imposed by the public authorities to derogate from the rule” details Auto Plus in its n ° 1660 of June 26, 2020.

On the same theme – The 90 km / h map of France

Clearly truncated results, lax tests

For Anne Lavaud, General Delegate for Road Safety, any assessment beyond the second half of 2018 “makes no sense because all the parameters of the system” then changed. Over this period (July to December 2018, therefore), 127 lives would have been saved on the roads of mainland France, outside the agglomeration and outside the motorway, compared to the average of the second semesters from 2013 to 2017. Based on this single data for making a case a generality appears clearly truncated …

Since 2017, Auto Plus has denounced these lax experiments. Before the measure was applied, the National Road Safety Council (CNSR) had tested this speed reduction for two years (between July 2015 and June 2017) in three section areas: the RN7 (8 km in the Drôme between Gervans and Bourg-lès-Valence), the RN151 (55 km in the Yonne and in the Nièvre between Auxerre and Varzy) and the RN57 (14 km in the Haute-Saône between Echenoz-le-Sec and Rioz). Auto Plus, which had then carried out its investigation, had arrived at the following observation: impossible to draw a balance sheet by not comparing the “comparable with the comparable”. Read the Auto Plus survey.

* as recalled by Auto Plus in its No. 1659 of June 19, 2020.