Holiday departures: prefect of Nord department
Holiday departures: prefect of Nord department urges all road users to exercise the utmost vigilance – Press communiqué issued by the office of the prefect of Nord department
Lille, 6 July 2017
In this first wave of holiday departures, the prefect [high-ranking civil servant who represents the state] of Nord department reiterates instructions to be cautious and calls on road users to comply with all the rules in the highway code, established for their and their loved ones’ safety.
While use of the roads in the department by non-residents is significant throughout the year, it reaches its maximum on our motorways during this period, which is dominated by journeys from north to south.
The prefect emphasizes that foreign drivers crossing or staying in the department are subject to French traffic rules, in terms of – among other things – wearing seat belts, not drinking alcohol, not using mobile phones at the wheel, and having hi-vis vests and warning triangles.
He recalls that drivers of vehicles registered in other European Union member states who are photographed by French cameras are now prosecuted if speeding or crashing red lights in France. While there was a marked dip in the number of foreigners photographed from 2013 onwards (71% fewer between 2012 and 2016 on the eight cameras on the north-south route of the A1, A2, A23, A25 and A27 motorways), offences started rising again in 2016 (23,265 – i.e. 36% of the total number of photographs taken on the eight cameras).
“While holiday departures are synonymous with relaxation and happiness, driving responsibly and in compliance with the rules in force during your journey means, first of all, protecting your own, your loved ones’ and other people’s lives. It also means respecting the environment. This message concerns all drivers.”
The prefect notes with satisfaction the marked improvement in road safety in the first half of the year, with a 40% reduction in fatalities: 29 people lost their lives compared to 49 in the same period last year. However, he urges everyone to remain fully vigilant. While the number of accidents is also falling (481 compared to 533), the number of injuries has remained stable (591 compared to 600).
Advice to motorists prior to holiday departures:
Avoid falling asleep at the wheel: rest well before leaving, make regular stops, make sure you take something to drink and things to keep passengers occupied, don’t fight tiredness, and take a break every two hours.
Prepare your vehicle: in addition to maintenance, check tyre condition and pressure on cars, caravans and trailers, secure luggage properly to roof-racks and trailers and avoid excessive loads.
Keep focused on driving: set the GPS before leaving and don’t operate it while at the wheel, because it distracts attention as much as receiving or reading text messages.