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French road accidents up after decade of decline

The Périphérique ring road around Paris, France.
The Périphérique ring road around Paris, France. Getty Images

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Tuesday the government would take a number of measures to improve road safety in the new year after official figures showed the number of road casualties shot up nearly 11 percent in November.

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After statistics showed road mortality grew 10.7 percent in November, officials with the National Road Safety Observatory said they expected the overall figure for 2014 would exceed the 3,250 deaths of the previous year.

"The figures are not what we hoped," Cazaneuve said, promising to "put everything into place to attain the objective" of 2,000 road deaths by 2020.

"In January, I will unveil a global and very aggressive plan touching on a range of issues that could represent risks and increase the number of accidents, injuries and deaths."

The plan is expected to address speeding, drugs and alcohol, and the use of portable telephones while driving.

2014 is the first year in more than a decade that deaths of drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists have increased, after a record low was recorded in 2013.

Cazeneuve said 18,000 police officers and gendarmes would be deployed to ensure road safety during the year-end holiday season.

He also said the government would study how to reduce speed limits "on particularly accident-prone roadways", but rejected a recommendation that they be reduced everywhere.

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