Accidents and Deaths on French Metropolitan Roads

Isn’t it time we took driving seriously???
Let’s have no more speeding… drink… drugs… phones… etc etc

In 2020, there were 45,121 injury accidents in metropolitan France.
2,541 people died within 30 days of their accident, including 391 pedestrians, 7 users of personal mobility devices (such as electric scooters), 178 cyclists, 100 moped riders, 479 motorcyclists, 1,243 motorists, 59 users of commercial vehicles, 33 users of heavy goods vehicles. 62 children aged 13 or less died, 89 adolescents aged 14-17, 449 young people aged 18-24, 643 senior citizens aged 65 or more.

In 2021, there were 53,540 injury traffic accidents in mainland France.
2,944 people died within 30 days of their accident, including 414 pedestrians, 24 users of personal mobility devices (such as e-scooters), 227 cyclists, 96 moped riders, 572 motorcyclists, 1,414 motorists, 103 users of utility vehicles, 44 users of heavy goods vehicles. 85 children aged 13 or under died, 101 teenagers aged 14-17, 505 young people aged 18-24, 770 senior citizens aged 65 or over.

It would be interesting to compare to 2018 & 2019. 2020 will be an unusual year due to Covid and traffic patterns being very unusual.

just choose a year from the righthand column
surely these figures… these deaths … are unacceptable… and yet, many drivers moan at speed limits etc etc…
Drivers know the Rules… but too many choose to “do their own thing”… some even brag about it

Probably because depending on where you live, there is often little, if any, enforcement. This is exacerbated by the fact that what enforcement does take place is at the wrong time of day, and in the wrong place.

Here in Vendee there is a huge problem of summer time, multi-occupancy single vehicle accidents occuring between 1 and 4am as the youngsters return inland from a night out at a seaside disco club. They take a bend too fast, loose control, and go off the road and through a hedge, down a bank, or into the woods. No-one knows what has happened until daybreak, and by that time often a number of the vehicle occupants have succumbed to their injuries.
The enforcement we get is a couple of Gendarmes standing in the middle of the village stopping vehicles at 10am on a midweek day. Sometimes we may have a larger group of officers at a roundabout situated at the confluence of a couple of major roads out in the countryside on a sunny weekday afternoon.
Apart from as a training exercise for new recruits, such ‘enforcement’ is totally ineffective in regards to the actual problem at hand.
What is needed is a far greater late evening and night time visible presence that would deter the ‘in drink’ drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place, or at the very least encourage them to drive more sensibly, and thus prevent many of the accidents from ever happening in the first place.

Of course I do accept that it is far easier, and more revenue productive, to carry out sunny afternoon speed detection on nice wide, modern, dry, and safe roads which have unrealistically low speed limits.
It’s just a matter of the wrong sort of enforcement, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and for the wrong reason.


I have often wondered about that Robert and have come to the conclusion that it’s not just the cost, in overtime or undesirable shift allowances, that means you rarely see enforcement at evenings and weekends in the middle of the night when it’s obvious people are going to be drinking and getting into cars. Especially on any Public Holiday.

I think it’s just socially unacceptable to ask enforcers to work those hours, or their union says no, and it would be crossing a social line to even propose it.

I don’t agree and the parents of young people who died in drink or drug related accidents probably wish something could be done, but I honestly think it"s a rights-of-workers thing.

According to this article from 2019, 60% of French drivers did not realise tailgating was illegal. It drives me mad when we are there. I wonder if the fancy cameras are having an impact yet.

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Exactly. My feeling is that this the most serious issue. It doesn’t matter what your speed is or what drugs you have taken if you are too close to the vehicle ahead.

On the other hand, lane discipline is so much better in France than the UK.


The reason I particularly mention speed, drink, drugs… is because the daily reports of dreadful accidents do, more often than not, have one (or more) of those three as the cause…

A vehicle can be a deadly weapon and needs driving with all due care… but it seems that many drivers assume “it will never happen to me”… and forget every good rule/guidance they read/were taught… in their aim to get wherever… as quickly as possible… regardless.

Lane discipline might be ‘better’ but frequently/usually when i have left a reasonable and safe distance between mine and the car in front, an overtaking car pulls in directly in front of me causing my car (with its modern sensors) to shout ‘brake’ at me!
How do the driving schools instil lane discipline but not safe distances into their pupils?

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My observation is that French lane discipline is better than British, provided the motorway traffic levels are low. Once they increase to the density often found on UK motorways then the French seem to behave similarly, remaining in the outside lanes and not moving across even when spaces appear. I’ve experienced this recently on the roads between Calais and Trois, and also some years ago between Bordeaux and Biarritz. At least the French haven’t started overtaking up the inside, as some in the UK now do. OTOH I’ve been quite amazed at how small a gap is considered adequate to pull out into at 130kph on the autoroute. :stuck_out_tongue:

Lack of anticipation of what may go wrong seems to be widespread and I believe this is the heart of the problem.
Ewa and I joke that the French are very good at relaxing at lunchtime but then seem in an awful hurry once they hit the roads. At least they tend to signal which definitely appears to have gone out of fashion in the UK.
I had a young woman tailgate me in France on a twisty single carriageway rural road. I made it clear I wasn’t happy but she persisted. Finally she appeared to drop back as we entered a village but as I rounded a corner there were two women waiting to cross the road at a crossing. I braked with moderate force so that I could stop to let them cross. It looked like they may step out imminently. It was then I saw in my rear view mirror Miss tailgate closing rapidly and I was forced to move forward another metre to avert a tail ender.

Joking surely?


It’s all relative. Hopeless here.

Actually, I don’t think it’s fair to compare/blame one nationality over another…
Drivers are Drivers… and some seem very, very dangerous… in a variety of ways.

I’ve quoted French figures… since that is my country and I have their results…

In either/both countries… road-deaths are ghastly…


To your list Stella, of speed, drink, drugs, I would add “overtaking without visibility of clear road”, which seems to be a sport here.


My list comes from Police Reports … almost daily… it’s ghastly… such a waste of life…
but I agree…there are so many other factors… :roll_eyes:

The UK is a little better, but 2021 was up on 2020 - don’t forget that people were probably not driving nearly as much due to Covid in 2020 compared to 2021

  • 1,608 people were killed (1,558 in Britain, 60 in Northern Ireland).
  • 26,701 were seriously injured (25,892 in Britain, 809 in Northern Ireland).
  • Deaths and serious injuries are up 15% on 2020, after falling during the pandemic lockdowns.
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Agree. On Sunday was closely followed by a car even while on two or three bits of dual carriageway. Then, while following a milk tanker uphill it decided to overtake just near the brow. Unbelievable.

I get SO MAD about the inability of many French drivers to indicate on roundabouts :japanese_ogre:

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