Deadly month on roads prompts speed crackdown

9th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 9 (AFP) - Police in France are to step up the number of speed traps and motorist checks after an increase in the number of road deaths this year that has marred a national traffic safety campaign, Transport Minister Dominque Perben said Tuesday.

PARIS, Aug 9 (AFP) - Police in France are to step up the number of speed traps and motorist checks after an increase in the number of road deaths this year that has marred a national traffic safety campaign, Transport Minister Dominque Perben said Tuesday.

In July, the start of Europe's summer vacation period when French roads are filled with vehicles from several countries, 566 people died in accidents, seven percent more than for the same month in 2004.

Over a year, from August 2004 to July 2005, the total number of road fatalities was 5,181.

Perben blamed motorists for relaxing a vigilance that had slowly been drummed into them with the introduction 18 months ago of radars and stepped-up police checks.

In a statement, he called on younger drivers "to respect the lives of others" and highlighted an accident last weekend in which five people aged 15 to 26 died after a car ran a stop sign.

Police roadside checks would be increased in August, he said.

The government road safety campaign -- one of President Jacques Chirac's top priorities -- had been showing results and had been on its way to reaching the goal of fewer than 5,000 fatalities per year.

Official figures showed that the number of deaths has been in slow decline over the past decades and now stood at a fraction of the 16,000-plus fatalities recorded in the early 1970s.

But authorities got a shock in March this year when, for the first time in 14 months, the number of deaths suddenly increased by 5.2 percent.

The statistics for July appeared to confirm a trend suggesting drivers in France were forgetting the lessons learnt and were becoming less wary of the sustained crackdown.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, road safety, accidents, Transport Minister, Dominque Perben

0 Comments To This Article