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French Speed Limits 2018 – Cuts to 90kph Limit

The French government announced earlier this year that the speed limit on some rural roads will be reduced from 90kph to 80kph from 1st July 2018. Two lane roads with no central reservation / barrier will adopt the new lower speed limit of 80mph, down from 90kph. Urban roads and motorway / dual carriageway speed limits will not be affected.

france speed limit change
Two-lane rural roads with no central barrier such as this will see the speed limit reduced from 90kph to 80kph.

Changes to Speed Limits in France from 1st July 2018

Road Type

Speed Limit pre 01/07/2018

Speed Limit post 01/07/2018


130 kph (80mpH)

130 kph (80mpH)

Dual Carriageway

110 kph (68mph)

110 kph (68mph)

Rural Roads

90 kph (56mph)

80 kph (50mph)

Urban Roads (towns and villages)

50 kph (31mph)

50 kph (31mph)

Why is France reducing the Speed Limit?

The reduction in the speed limit aims to reverse the trend of increasing road deaths in France. 2017 saw a 1% rise from a previously recorded high of nearly 3,500 in 2016. Road deaths in France have been increasing since a historic low of 3,268 in 2013 despite a drop in road deaths in Europe over the same period (see more on EU accident statistic here). in 2016, road deaths in France accounted for nearly 14% of all recorded fatalities in Europe, an alarmingly high figure which has driven the speed limit drop soon to take effect.

55% of those deaths (1,911 victims) happened on the 400,000km of rural roads (known as secondary roads) where the current 90kph speed limit is set to drop to 80kph. Of those, 32% were attributed to “excessive or inappropriate” speed. The reduction in the speed limit is expected to cut road deaths by up to 400 per year, representing around an 11% drop.

dual carriageway in france
Dual carriageway's such as this with a central reservation will not be affected

What are the Speeding Fines in France?

Unlike the recent law requiring all cars in France to have a breathalyzer in the car, where a ‘soft launch’ was introduced giving flexibility for those not up to speed, the change in the speed limit will carry an immediate fine and is likely to be heavily policed from launch by the Gendarmerie. Speeding fines in France are often ‘on the spot’ and start from 68 EUR for minor excess speeds, right up to 750 EUR and the confiscation of your vehicle for more serious misdemeanors. More information on speeding fines in a rental car here.

speeding in france

Naturally, the change to the speed limit in France has met some stern opposition from driver’s associations, however should the measures lead to the anticipated drop in road deaths it’ll be considered a successful change to the law. So if you’re hiring a car in France this year, make sure you are aware of the change to the speed limit, reduce your speed accordingly and enjoy a safe journey. For more information, see our complete guide to driving in France.

Kellie Hodge
Posted: May 10, 2018 by Kellie Hodge
About the Author -

Travel writer, customer service guru, Kellie knows the ins and outs of car rental and always happy to share her knowledge on our blog. Favourite country to visit: Spain.

Last updated: Thursday, May 10, 2018
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