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PM refuses to back down on speed limits

The Connexion, May 4

Edouard Philippe is remaining firm, and says that he will shoulder the unpopularity that comes with a speed limit cut on the nation’s 400,000 kms of secondary roads.

The government has no intention of walking away from the controversial speed limit cut, which is due to come into force this summer, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said.

Despite a series of protests against plans to cut the speed limit on the country’s 400,000 kms of secondary routes from 90kph to 80kph on July 1, Mr Philippe insisted the plan will go ahead, adding that he is prepared to “assume his responsibilities" and shoulder "the unpopularity that goes with it".

If we want to significantly reduce the number of deaths or serious injuries, we must reduce this speed," he told France Bleu Berry on Friday.

Last year 3,693 people were killed on the roads, a drop of 1.2% compared to 2016. Meanwhile, 72,000 people were injured, including 25,000 who suffered serious injury.

M Philippe said that a series of measures which were regarded as ‘curtailing the rights of French drivers’ had succeeded in reducing road deaths - including the obligatory use of seat belts, stricter speed limits in towns and stronger speed controls on motorways and national routes.

He also claimed that regional authorities were unwilling to assume the responsibility of setting their own speed limits, a suggestion made by officials in the Haute-Garonne in March.

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