French Drivers Crazier Than Usual

In France, it’s tradition for incoming presidents to offer pardons for traffic violations — everything from parking tickets to more serious infractions. The practice has been curtailed somewhat by current president Jacques Chirac, and it’s likely to cease altogether after the next election, but that hasn’t stopped the nation’s motorists from driving like crazy people.

The transport ministry released statistics earlier this week that show a 13.9 percent increase in vehicle-related deaths in January, suggesting that drivers are counting on presidential pardons when the new leader takes office in May.

According to Transport Minister Dominique Perben: “I hope that’s not what it is but it is probable that the vagueness which remains as far as the prospects of an amnesty are concerned may be involved.”

Obvious Travel Tip: when visiting France, stay off the roads.