It's coming up to election time in France, and the top job is up for grabs. The current President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is highly unpopular and fighting to get his job approval ratings up, and he's bringing out every election issue he can get his hands on. His party, the UMP, is on the right of the center, but he's pandering to the extreme right.
One of his favorite issues is road safety and the reduction of road deaths. To give him his due, he has managed the impossible in the 7 years he's been doing it (before being President, he was the Minister of the Interior), and reduced by 50% the mortality rate in the country. But he wants more, much more.
In a gathering on road safety last Wednesday, he stated the following:
400 additional automatic 4th generation radars will be purchased and deployed. They will not have any warning signs announcing that there's a radar up ahead, and their locations will not be allowed to be stored in GPS warning systems. This was something the government conceded after the massive protests last summer, but now they have backtracked (see related articles below). Time for stronger action!
2) Alcohol Testers Onboard of Cars
Breathalyzers will be mandatory in all cars (like the HiViz vests and emergency triangles). Every car must have one starting in the next spring (2012). It's not the electronic ones that will prevent you from starting your car, but a balloon which you blow in. It will be your own responsibility to find out if you're drunk or not.
Obviously, this falls under the "what are you smoking" deal... if you're drunk, you're not going to blow in the bag to see if you're drunk. You just get in the car and drive away. Nice windfall for the breathalyzer manufacturers...
3) Speed Limiters
Sarko is looking at placing speed limiters in cars. It's not yet clear which cars, but the victim association wants one in every car in France. Instead, he might put them in cars that have been caught speeding.
4) Motorcycle Riders
All this is pretty bad and far fetched. But the worst was his statement. Freely translated, he said:
"Half of the dead were decent people who were in their car, respecting the rules of the road, and a human bomb fell upon them, and their destiny and their family was shattered".
In other words, all bikers ride like lunatics, and are a menace to decent citizens. He doesn't take into account that studies and statistics have clearly shown that 70% of the motorcycle vs car accidents were caused by the car driver, not the biker. But it's election time, and he does not like bikers, so he's showing it.
At least his main opponent, the socialist Francois Hollande is a biker.... maybe when he wins, he'll look after us.