'Yellow vests' blamed for rise in road deaths by wrecking speed cameras


France's road safety department attributed a 17% rise in fatal road accidents last month to destruction of speed cameras by the protesters.

This article is freely available. Check out our subscription offers. Subscribe

Reckless “yellow vests” have been blamed for a worrying spike in the number of road deaths in France despite a government decision to controversially lower the speed limit on the country's B-roads, reports The Telegraph.

France's road safety department attributed a 17 per cent rise in fatal road accidents last month to the destruction of speed cameras by the “gilet jaunes”, many of whom went on a radar wrecking spree after the government cut the speed limit on secondary roads from 90 kilometre-per-hour to 80kph.

In February, 253 people died in road accidents in mainland France, some 37 more than the same month a year ago. The figure was also a significant increase from January, when 238 people were killed.

"The effect of the widespread damage to fixed radars is increasing and is being felt in the deterioration of behaviour across the network”, said the interior ministry's road safety department in a statement.

The "yellow vest" revolt erupted in rural and suburban France in mid-November against the prospect of fuel tax hikes. But it swiftly morphed into a wider movement against President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms, seen as favouring rich city dwellers over the provincial poor.

Some say a major spark for the revolt was last July’s introduction of the new speed limit on secondary roads, seen by critics as another government wheeze to fleece rural motorists with fines.

Read more of this report from The Telegraph.

Extend your reading on Mediapart Unlimited access to the Journal free contribution in the Club Subscribe