How Safe Are You on French Roads?

25 May 2010

Over 20 million visitors from northern Europe visit and drive in France each year, drawn by the sun, beaches, countryside, history and food. The French way of life is a draw not just to visitors, some 90% of the French holiday at home.

But 60,000 people have been killed on French roads in the last decade alone. How safe is the touring driver? What and where are the risks for the foreign driver when the risks driving abroad can be much higher than at home?

The report compares key risk factors such as alcohol, seatbelt wearing, and speeding between France and its immediate neighbours. It tracks major improvements in French road deaths within the last decade but shows that France still has a death rate more than 50% higher than three of her neighbours.

This report uniquely contains the first ever independent inspections of the safety of French road infrastructure. Over 4,000kms of popular touring route has been inspected and star rated for safety - Get me to the sun quick, My touring holiday and My stay in Provence.

French road engineers have much to be proud of - the sample of French autoroutes inspected by EuroRAP has the most consistently high standard of safety yet measured anywhere in Europe. The programme of roundabouts, safety fences, safe overtaking stretches and safe junction layouts is evident and often innovative.

The report however shows how the challenge for France is the size of the country and the length of the busy main network that still urgently needs a safety makeover. The sample of roads inspected in this report show that around 15% of the network wins only a single star for safety built in to the road.

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