You’d certainly be forgiven for asking this question as in fact, whether a département is limited to 80km/h or 90km/h is now up to the département itself.

Can you remember a couple of years ago when the 90kph speed limit changed to 80kph on all ‘routes départementales’ (the main roads linking towns within a department) and the government spent millions changing all the signs?

Well, many departments have now changed the limit – and the signs – back! Confused? Well, you will certainly need an eagle eye when you drive down through France to the P-O. as some departments you pass through will now have a 90 limit on certain roads whilst other, similar roads remain at 80.


Following the nationwide speed limit reduction back in July 2018, motorists across France struggled to change their habits to remain within the law.

The initial reduction was aimed at improving road security but in fact, in our region at least, road accident mortality apparently doubled.

Less than one year later, Premier Ministre, Edouard Philippe approved a decision to allow prefects and département presidents to set this authorised speed limit themselves –  or not!

Photo : AFP

Changes in the P-O?

P-O Président, Hermeline Malherbe, called the decision an irresponsible U-turn, stating that, “After having decided to move to 80 km/h without consultation… the government is now abandoning the departments.”

Under the current law (since July 2018), roads with a central concrete partition remain limited to 90km/h.

Sainte Marie la Mer

So, rather than undoing all the changes that had already been implemented, the P-O was instead to undertake a series of road improvements, installing partitions where appropriate to allow drivers to return to 90km/h.


Well, no, not really! Even if you get your head around the changes going on in the P-O, other départements in France may have decided something different so it’s really just a question of reading the signs!

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