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Confusion continues on roads

Last month the department of Isere in Auvergne Rhone-Alpes became the 37th French department (out of 96) to return their departmental roads to a 90 km/hr speed limit following the decision 2 years ago by the Government to allow departments to revert to 90 km/ hr if they wish. The 37 departments that have decided to increase the speed limit to 90km/h on certain roads now represents over 33,000 km of the network, but these departments are mainly in the rural central area of France. However, even in these departments many roads remain under the control of Central Government, such as the main Routes Nationales that are still restricted to 80 km/hr (unless they are a dual carriageway).

Also, in these 37 departments the return has been limited & there are significant differences between departments in how far they have gone. Allier has increased the speed limit on over 5,284 km of road, while in the Haut-Rhin it was limited to 22 km. Eight departments - Allier, Aveyron, Cantal, Corrèze, Côte-d'Or, Creuse, Lozère and Orne have increased over 1,000 km of road to 90km/h. However, in 21 departments the limit was increased on less than 500km of road & in only 5 departments (Allier, Cantal, Corrèze, Creuse, Lozère) has the increase been over 80%. Allier and Creuse are the only departments to have increased the speed limit on 100% of their network. The percentage of roads changed is shown below:

  • The Allier, the Cantal, the Corrèze and the Creuse are the only ones to return 100% of their network to 90 km/ hr.

  • Lozère has returned 87% .

For the other departments, the percentages vary:

  • 10% Charente, Hautes-Alpes, Indre-et-Loire, Jura, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret

  • 16% Haute-Loire, Seine-et-Marne

  • 20% Côte-D'or, Haute-Marne

  • 22% Sarthe

  • 35% Orne

15 departments that have returned to a 90 km/ hr limit have reinstated less than 10% of the network, these are:

  • 8%, Calvados, Maine-et-Loire, Hautes-Pyrénées,

  • 7%, Cher and Hérault

  • 6%, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres, Dordogne and Mayenne

  • 5%, Aube

  • 4%, Eure-et-Loir, Indre and Vienne

  • 3%, Bas-Rhin,

  • 1%, Haut-Rhin (only 16 km of roads have returned to 90 km/ hr)

The result in this lack of conformity throughout France has been confusion for drivers (especially for Foreign drivers) who pass from one 90 km/hr department into an 80 km/hr. The speed limits are obviously shown on the road signs but can easily be missed. As the number of speed cameras & radar cars increases the only certain way to avoid a speeding fine is, when in doubt, then drive at 80km/hr.

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