Traffic accident figures in Cantal should always be taken with humility: from relatively low totals, isolated events are sometimes enough to quickly inflate the figures.
Not this year. Since January, the human toll has been dire, with six deaths already on the roads of Cantal, one more than in the whole of 2021. There is also a real underlying trend, with an increase in the number of recorded accidents, the number of injuries and offences. serious recorded.
Increase in deaths.Six people have died on the roads of Cantal this year. In Aurillac, it concerns two 88-year-old pedestrians: the first, Avenue des Volontaires, on January 14, the second in front of Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges, on February 5. She was leaving mass, around 7:00 p.m.: the driver of the car would not have seen it.
In the gendarmerie area, that is to say the entire department excluding Aurillac and Arpajon-sur-Cère, all the deaths occurred during the month of May, in a black series that the gendarmes cannot explain.
On May 7, a 14-year-old girl, a passenger in a vehicle driven by a 21-year-old woman, was murdered. The car had overturned, for undetermined reasons, in a straight line, between Mauriac and Anglards-de-Salers, around 6:00 p.m., when the group of young people was returning home. The driver was not an alcoholic and was unknown to justice. An inspection of the vehicle is being carried out to try to determine the cause of the accident.
On Sunday, May 15, shortly after midnight, two young people died, an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman, apparently they were not together. They were passengers in a car that fell in Ternes: it was driven by an 18-year-old, unknown to justice except for a speeding ticket. According to our information, several elements direct the investigators towards the speeding track at the time of the accident, which the driver denies: he allegedly explained that he lost control of his car, a Golf GTI, on the gravel, without driving too much Quick. . Gravel was indeed found, but only on the side of the road. Once again, an evaluation is in progress.
Finally, on May 23, a 51-year-old man died on the 122 national road in Saint-Mamet-la-Salvetat, after a head-on collision with a truck. Resurrected on the spot, transported by emergency helicopter to Clermont-Ferrand CHU, he did not survive. Tests are ongoing, while investigators can’t explain why his vehicle ended up in the heavyweight’s path, straight ahead.
Increase in accidents and injuries.The trend is strong: between January 1 and April 30 – before the three fatal accidents in May – the number of accidents and injuries was already increasing. In 2022, in this period, there were 44 accidents, for 50 injuries, of which twelve were hospitalized for more than twenty-four hours.
In 2021, the same period, there were 28 accidents, for 31 injuries, including five serious ones. In 2019, there were twelve accidents resulting in eleven injuries, including eight serious ones.
We have the feeling that the “deconfinement” effect disinhibits people. There is a way of looking at your navel, they say to themselves: “I am important, I am going to enjoy life, I am going to drive fast”, but they do not take advantage of it.
sebastien rouby (SRDF Commander)
Results: “Serious and even very serious accidents are on the rise. It is national, we can see that accidents are becoming more violent. Another alarming figure: “There is a very strong increase in refusals to comply in the department this year,” he notes.
Youth on the front line.This is again a terrible observation: in 2022, people under the age of 25 will account for half of all road deaths in the department. In fact, it is the confirmation of an element already observed in 2021, when the five dead on the roads of the department were between 14 and 25 years old: two teenagers doing motocross on municipal roads, an 18-year-old girl and a 25-year-old motorcyclist. years killed in head-on crashes, and a teenage passenger in a minibus that crashed on the highway.
Are young people less cautious? It is difficult to draw conclusions from the eight fatal accidents involving young people since January 2021, but the prefecture gives other elements of understanding. In 2021, if those under 25 years of age are overrepresented among the deceased, they are not especially so in the category of hospitalized injured (7 compared to 37 of those over 25 years of age).
But the State services indicate this year that “the speed controls carried out by the gendarmerie show that young drivers are overrepresented among the perpetrators of infractions.” is a reality:
“There is a lot of virtuality in our day to day life, and sometimes they have to realize that they don’t have seven lives like in a video game…”
Captain Rouby colors the picture anyway. For most, “experience is lacking. They have a good training, but it takes a lot of kilometers to master the vehicle.”
The bad behaviors in question.This is another observation: drive fast on the roads of Cantal. In 2021 there were 270 driving license suspensions for speeding (40 km/h over the speed limit), compared to 198 in 2020 (year of confinement) and 233 in 2019.
For the prefecture, “these figures reflect the increase in infractions observed by the police”, both in the police zone and in the gendarmerie. In short: it is not because the police do more checks that they find more crimes. In fact, all wanted crimes are on the rise.
Beyond speeding, addictive behaviors are also on the rise. Suspensions of driving licenses due to alcohol have thus decreased from 198 in 2019 to 217 in 2021. The same is true of suspensions of driving licenses due to the use of narcotics (cocaine, cannabis, etc.): the gendarmes in 2018 for these reasons , up from 226 in 2021.
Prefecture and gendarmes communicate regularly about these “red cards”, without success. “We have the feeling that the message is heard, but not perceived,” laments Captain Rouby. From there, the strategy is simple: keep going, even if it means scooping up the sea with a spoon. “There is no satisfaction in withdrawing the driver’s license. Except when it comes to a dangerous person: there, we tell ourselves that perhaps we have saved a family that would have been in front of him…”
Aurillac, a special case.Two pedestrians, octogenarians, died in Aurillac, and it is not the first time that the city of Gerald has been highlighted in this way in road safety reports: an 82-year-old woman also died in December 2020.
However, if there is an increase, it is far from being as marked as in the gendarmerie zone, with, between January 1 and May 31, 31 accidents (compared to 21 in 2021), for 40 injuries (compared to 26 in 2021). “We don’t have road crime, we don’t especially have the urban rodeo phenomenon,” explains commissioner Jean-Philippe Roth, reinforced by the statistics of offenses (a single offense for speeding more than 50 km/h in 2021…) .
Motorists are quite courteous, the layout in the city center with many 30 zones, precisely there to reduce risks after several accidents in the early 2010s, is quite respected. “We are rather facing a lack of caution, failures that can have serious consequences. »
The method: no heavy control device, but patrols are instructed to do it all over the place, to entangle the territory, while knowing the problem sectors, thanks to feedback from the field. With a clear creed: “We won’t let anything happen,” he explains, speaking in particular of the phone while driving or driving while intoxicated. At this specific point, every weekend, several drivers are caught behind the wheel drunk, at a criminal level, exceeding 0.8 grams of alcohol per liter of blood.
Expect checks this summer…Having such a complicated balance since the beginning of May necessarily implies an action plan: in the department, for three years, the Cantal roads have received a large flow of vacationers and the risks are multiplying.
Captain Sébastien Rouby, who heads the Departmental Road Safety Squadron, warns of several elements: “The weather is more temperate, then there will be work. “Just arrived, the officer found on the roads of Cantal that he considers satisfactory, with the other side of the coin: there will be gravel.
More generally, “we will have to slow down. It is the time of animal transport, there may be a tractor, behind the curve, but also a cyclist, or hikers when the routes cross the road… There will be motorcycles, possibly families stopping in an area to have a picnic: a child playing very well you can cross without warning… If everyone has good civility and is aware that there are other users on the road, everything will be fine. »
Summer is generally a difficult period, with more accidents -logically, with the increase in traffic- but also more serious accidents that affect more fragile users, in particular motorcyclists and cyclists.
“We are not worried, continues Sébastien Rouby. But we are vigilant. »
Surveillance is checkpoints, uniformed, visible, but also civilian. “We are really everywhere in the territory, omnipresent, we multiply the checkpoints, we saturate the roads, he ends. But it is not expandable. “And this is not a panacea: you will not be able to put a gendarme behind every car in the department…