British drivers may be able to breathe a little easier while touring in France, with the news that French départements may soon be able to revert to a 90kph speed limit on secondary roads. This reverses a decision by the government to set a controversial lower default limit of 80kph across France last summer.
The 80kph limit is thought to be one of the main reasons why a glut of British drivers recently received fines, as they were unaware of the change. French authorities only began exchanging data with the DVLA at the end of January this year, but it has since chased drivers for alleged offences up to a year old.
The U-turn follows nationwide protests by the yellow vest movement and the widespread vandalism of speed cameras, and comes despite statistics that showed a drop in fatalities. According to the French research institute Cerema and the French Road Safety Observatory, there were 127 fewer deaths on rural roads with the new 80 kph speed limit compared to the previous average on the same roads, with barely any increase in travel time.
By lowering the speed limits to 80, France had followed the example of Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands. However, before drivers in rural areas put their foot down, bear in in mind that some areas could end up with different limits from others.