French road deaths hit ‘historic’ low amid row over controversial speed limit cuts

Road deaths in mainland France have hit a new low just six months after the government introduced controversial new 80kph (50mph) speed limits, it has been announced.

But with anger from “yellow vests” mounting nationwide over the new restrictions – leading to 60 per cent of the country’s speed traps being damaged or destroyed – the prime minister conceded that demands to row back on the limits were “legitimate” in some cases.

Last year, some 3,250 people were killed in road traffic accidents in mainland France, nine fewer than the previous record in 2013.

The fall came after three consequence years of rising death tolls between 2014 and 2016 – an unprecedented spike since 1972, followed by a plateau in 2017.

The worrying rise prompted the government to cut speed limits on 400,000 km (250,000 miles) of two-way B-roads with no central reservation from 90kmph to 80kmph last July.