France set to take one billion euro jackpot in traffic fines

France set to take one billion euro jackpot in traffic fines
Photo: AFP
Fines for speeding and other traffic offences are set to bring a record one billion euros into French state coffers next year, but ever stricter driving rules are still failing to reduce road deaths.
Figures from the draft state budget for next year show that traffic fines are projected to be around €928 million, a 10 percent increase on 2017. 
When extra fines for late payment are added in, that will bring takings to over one billion euros for the first time, Les Echos financial daily reported
The attempted crackdown on speeding and other offences was part of the government’s bid to reduce the number of people who die every year on France’s roads. Thirty-two percent of deadly accidents are caused by speeding in France.
Tougher rules were brought in in 2012 by the then Socialist government, with the then interior minister Manuel Valls saying he wanted the death toll to be brought below 2,000 people a year by 2020.
But that plan is starting to appear as over-optimistic, given that road deaths have been on the rise for the last three years.
Last year 3,477 people were killed in road accidents, according to figures from Sécurité Routière, the national road safety authority.
President Emmanuel Macron last month announced new road safety measures, including banning hands-free phone kits in cars, lowering the already very low alcohol limit for young drivers, and trying out saliva tests to detect drug use.
The government also plans to extend the use of private companies to run speed cameras after an initial test that was carried out in the Normandy region.