In light of recent developments in the Czech Republic, which plans to increase its highway speed limit from 130 km/h to 150 km/h starting January 1st, France too is considering the merits of an increased speed limit on its highways. Italian authorities are also believed to be pondering over a similar increase in the near future.
Pierre Chasseray, the General Delegate of the association “40 millions d’automobilistes,” was invited to discuss this topic earlier this week. Commenting on the possibility of France adopting a 150 km/h speed limit, he mentioned, “Cela ne me paraît pas fou de tenter l’expérience” (It doesn’t seem crazy to try the experience). He further elaborated that they wouldn’t oppose such a change under certain conditions. Drawing a comparison with Germany, where about two-thirds of the autobahn network lacks a permanent speed limit, he noted that Germany reports 20% fewer fatal accidents than France. “Without going limitless,” Chasseray suggested, “why not test it out on specific highways? If any negative indicators emerge, the experiment can be halted.”
The core argument supporting an increased speed limit is the belief that higher speeds could potentially lead drivers to be more focused and vigilant, according to L’Automobile. Proponents believe that driving at higher speeds demands greater attention from drivers, making them more alert.
While France deliberates the potential benefits and drawbacks of this change, it’s worth noting that the conversation is set within a broader European context. As countries like the Czech Republic make changes to their speed limits, it sparks discussions in neighboring nations about the correlation between speed limits and road safety.
The overarching goal for any change in speed limits, of course, remains the safety and well-being of motorists and pedestrians alike. As countries weigh the merits of adjusting speed limits, they’ll undoubtedly be closely monitoring statistics and studies from regions that have already made such shifts.
We believe that this experiment not only has merit but could prove to be as safe and prevent accidents as all the electrical assisted driving nannies that otherwise mar the driving experience. If anything, most current systems are unreliable, finicky, and erratic at best, and this while commuting in ideal conditions. In winter, fog, or even rain, many systems go offline and are therefore useless.
Unfortunately, such an experiment will never occur in Canada, other than in the Prairies potentially, as distracted driving at any speed is the very bane of those who actually want to drive. As well, our roads are typically not in as good a condition as they are in many European countries.
While we love the idea of flying down a highway at 150 km/h, we think that a 130 km/h limit, a strict non-flexible limit, could be feasible on some stretches.