French road deaths down 20 pct in 2003

12th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 12 (AFP) - The number of people killed on France's roads in 2003 fell 20.8 percent as compared with the year before to 5,732, meaning 1,500 lives were saved in a year, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said Monday.

PARIS, Jan 12 (AFP) - The number of people killed on France's roads in 2003 fell 20.8 percent as compared with the year before to 5,732, meaning 1,500 lives were saved in a year, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said Monday.

"We are particularly sensitive to efforts made by the French people on the roads," Raffarin said in his New Year's greetings to the press. "Four lives were saved every day."

The figure marked the first time that the number of deaths on France's highways had dropped below the 6,000 mark, signalling a success for the center-right government in its campaign to bolster road safety.

President Jacques Chirac made reducing the stubbornly high death toll - among the worst records in Europe - one of his priorities upon his re-election in 2002.

The government unveiled a series of measures aimed at improving road safety, including the introduction of cameras on several highways in November, which officials say produced an immediate effect on driving speeds.

About 1,000 such units, which record a speeding car's license plate so police can send the owner a ticket in the mail, are due to go into operation by next year, compared with 5,000 in Britain, where the number of road deaths has been around half the number in France.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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