Safety campaigners are calling for safer roads in France following a surge in deaths caused by reckless driving.
In 2015, 3,464 people were killed in car accidents in France, with campaigners demanding lower speed limits on French roads.
Dangerous driving has seen the death toll rise by 14 per cent. Amongst the causes responsible for the sustained increase are hazardous habits including distractions from technology such as smart phones.
The death rate on UK roads is presently almost half that of France.
In 2002, a crackdown on speeding by President Chirac achieved a decade-long drop in the country’s death toll.
A survey by the AXA Foundation revealed that one in three French drivers have admitted to using their phones whilst behind the wheel, with 15 per cent saying they have typed or read text messages whilst operating their vehicle.
A new law in summer 2015 made it illegal to hold a telephone or use earphones whilst driving.
Anne Lavaud, director of the road safety organisation, Association Prevention Routiere, told The Times: “Even if the French are holding fewer telephone conversations, they are using their smartphones to send texts, email or for their sat nav, which is just as dangerous.”
Safety campaigners are also hoping to see the French President tackle speeding drivers by having the speed limits lowered. The AXA Foundation’s survey also revealed that a quarter of people admitted to regularly driving at more than 120km/h – 30km/h over the limit on French roads. Almost one in four also said that they regularly drive after two glasses of wine.
Fixed speed cameras helped in the 2002 drop in road deaths, yet motorists’ organisations are fighting the proposal for more speed cameras, along with a tested 80km/h limit on French roads.
The survey also highlighted that 90 per cent believed they were good drivers, whilst regarding other road users as deficient.