A Public Policy in Evolution:Speed Enforcement in France (2000-2010)
Speeding has been identified as an important factor in road accidents and as one of the "fatal four" requiring the implementation of a public policy from the appropriate authorities. Different tools are available to governments' intent on making drivers observe the Highway Code: educative measures, communication campaigns and rehabilitation programmes can be put into effect, whereas speed checking devices can help with enforcement of speed limits and punishment of offenders. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on the roads. Many changes have taken place in France since 2000 and impressive results have been obtained during the last decade, with road fatalities down by 40% since 2002. Thousands of deaths and injuries have been avoided. The outstanding factor here is the implementation of an automated speed enforcement programme (ASEP). However other important changes have also taken place and 2000 “2009 has been a decade of real evolution for speed enforcement policy in France. This contribution proposes to investigate the nature of the changes which occurred during the last decade with regard to speed enforcement: new legislation, political commitment and the implementation of an ASEP. The second section investigates the modalities of this change in speed enforcement activities: modification of organisation of speed enforcement, evolution of speed offences and the implications for manual speed checks. The last section is concerned with the consequences of these changes: evolution of driving speeds and speeding behaviour.