Photo radar does the job, France finds
Highway deaths drop by 35 per cent
Published: Friday, July 06, 2007

France has installed 1,600 photo radars (speed cameras) since 2003 and there are plans to increase that number to 2,000 by the end of this year.

That's because they appear to be doing their job.

In a report made public recently, French authorities credit photo radar as a contributing factor in a decrease in highway deaths.

Between 2001 and 2005, the number of deaths per year has fallen by 35 per cent, meaning 2,844 lives have been saved each year. About 130,000 fewer people were injured in traffic accidents. In 2001, 8,162 people died on French roads, in 2005 the number was 5,318.

(The European Community aims to reduce road deaths by half by 2010.)

The report says that driving speeds on all types of roads in France have fallen by six to 11 per cent in the past five years, and by 16 kilometres per hour on highways, where the speed limit is often 130 km/h.

The proportion of vehicles speeding at 10 km/h or more above the legal limit fell from 35 per cent in 2003 to 19 per cent in 2005, and the number of vehicles exceeding the limit by more than 30 km/h plunged by 80 per cent across France.

The report adds that, on average, a one-per-cent reduction in the mean speed of traffic leads to a four-per-cent reduction in fatal accidents.

Photo radar is used in about 68 countries worldwide, among them Angola, Australia, Britain, China, Germany, Israel, Iran, Italy, Russia, Spain Turkey and the United States.

The Gazette (Montreal) 2007