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Road safety: two out of three French people do not systematically respect the safety corridor

Do you know the rule of the highway code called safety corridor? It obliges all drivers to reduce their speed and change lanes or keep as far away as possible from personnel working on the side of a road, expressway or motorway, as soon as they approach, to ensure their protection. This rule, although compulsory, is not systematically respected by 67% of French people, according to a study published on Tuesday May 24. It is intended to protect road patrollers, four of whom have died since the beginning of the year. One in five drivers interviewed for the Vinci Autoroutes Foundation’s 2022 barometer is unaware of this rule, which entered the highway code in 2018, a figure however down eight points compared to 2021.

Four patrollers have died since the beginning of the year in intervention, two on conceded motorways and two on national roads, the French Association of Motorway Companies (Asfa) told AFP. And on average, more than two intervention vehicles were hit each week in 2020 on the motorway network under concession, according to Asfa’s annual report. In 60% of cases, these accidents were caused by inattention or drowsiness.

84% of those surveyed admitted to sometimes looking away from the road for more than 2 seconds

“Too many drivers do not have exclusive attention to driving”, underlines Bernadette Moreau, general manager of the Vinci Autoroutes foundation, noting that 84% of respondents recognize that they sometimes take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds. “However, at 130 km/h, a car travels 72 meters in two seconds, knowing that we must also take into account the reaction time before braking,” she adds. Drivers take their eyes off the road because they wander (67%), use their phone (74%), whether to make a phone call (61%, +7 pts compared to 2021), consult it or configure their GPS .

“Whatever the mode of use, even in bluetooth (legal, editor’s note), phoning occupies a good part of the attention”, explains Bernadette Moreau. Indeed, according to a 2011 study by Gustave-Eiffel University and Inserm, “phoning with or without a hands-free kit leads to the same level of risk, due to the cognitive and auditory component of the action”. Some drive while participating in work meetings: they are 16% of active people in this case, and a quarter of CSP+ surveyed. In addition, nearly one in two French people (46%) continue their journey despite feeling very tired, a figure up seven points. The survey was carried out from March 5 to 21 via the Internet, among 2,400 French people aged 16 and over, according to the quota method.

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