Road deaths fall in France despite return to pre-pandemic traffic levels

Road deaths fall in France despite return to pre-pandemic traffic levels
Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP.
Deaths on the road in France have fallen this summer compared to 2019, despite there being more crashes overall, the French road safety observatory said.

A total of 267 people died in accidents on French roads last month, according to estimates by the French Road Safety Observatory (ONISR), 23 fewer than in August 2019. Fatal accidents were down everywhere except motorways, where 26 people lost their lives, two more than in 2019.

The results “reflect the resumption of mobility among French people, with accident rates at a similar level to Augusts before the pandemic, while there are still fewer road deaths,” the Sécurité Routière agency said 

Road deaths were up 10 percent compared to 2020, but this is largely explained by the drop in traffic last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, there was 15 percent more traffic in August 2021 compared to August 2020, while there were 30 percent more cars on the roads on weekends, as many French people opted against going abroad for their holidays.

Deaths on French roads dropped to their lowest levels since the Second World War in 2020, as a result of restrictions on movement during two separate lockdowns.

While accidents were less deadly this year, they were in fact more frequent. There were 4,350 accidents involving injury or death last month, a 2 percent rise compared to August 2019. A total of 5,738 people were injured.

Of those who were killed, almost half were driving a car. 120 motorists were killed in accidents, up from last year, but 24 fewer than in 2019.

A total of 26 pedestrians were killed last month – that’s lower even than August 2020, when 33 pedestrians lost their lives.

The number of cyclists who died, however, was higher in August than in the previous two years. 24 cyclists were killed in August 2021, three more than last year, and four more than in 2019. Cycling has seen a significant increase in recent months, particularly in Paris. 


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