See, the latest fatal accident of the 11th April 2017 claimed the life of yet another road user, who – pending the police enquiry – had the best intentions. According to his family, he had heroically tried, and succeeded, to avert a collision with a slaloming car. Sadly, and tragically, this manoeuvre came to the expense of his own life, leaving all bereaved with a feeling of immense loss that will take quite a long time to heal.??Even with limited knowledge of traffic engineering, any common road user could list the risk factors inherent to this infamous portion of the M1 motorway:?- a non-standard succession of curves (requires full-on attention of drivers at every millisecond: the natural topography forced that shape in the 60’s, but now you have tunneling that can help to correct this)?- a non-standard slope (greater than 2% or 5%, depending on which standard you refer to; thanks to availability of tunneling, this can also be corrected.?- triple carriageways (three unnecessarily wide lanes running parallel with no traffic calming devices which give ample room for slalom by F1 wannabes: this can also be corrected by proper surveillance of enforcement of existing regulations).?- violent gusts of cross-winds (that’s a fixed parameter).?- unsteady traffic (due to the ill-planned everything uphill and downhill: this too can be corrected by efficient planning and effective enforcement of regulations).?- a high allowable speed of 110 km/h uphill and 80km/h downhill without enforcement in the most dangerous portions: the curves. (this too can be corrected by effective enforcement of existing regulations)??Well, under other skies, that portion of road would have been re-designed and re-built to a safer geometry if there were  HYPERLINK « » \t « _blank » such  HYPERLINK « » \t « _blank » an  HYPERLINK « » \t « _blank » accumulation of  HYPERLINK « » \t « _blank » potentially  HYPERLINK « » \t « _blank » fatal incidents. Instead of unnecessarily widening the existing track and wastefully installing speed cameras on the straight portions, a careful redesigning of the existing geometry (slope and curvature) to match current standards to increase the safety of road users becomes imperative.?It may require tunneling through the Pailles hillside instead of hill-cutting works through geological strata that are potentially still active (remember the disgraceful carving out of hills between Terre Rouge and Verdun and the eventual catastrophic slope failures that necessitated such extensive and expensive repairs?)
?Or it may require the strict enforcement of existing driving regulations by means of a behavioural camera: it analyses all vehicles incoming over up to 500 metres and tracks all its offences to warn standby police interceptors of a potential serial killer – but this requires all number plates to be standardised and to bear QR codes that is way beyond our NTA’s very limited planning and implementation abilities.?Or it may involve the active and permanent policing of that particular stretch to ensure that those who use that stretch of road do not end up returning home lying with two feet forward on a stretcher. ?But at least, there would be a welcome halt to the morbid trend of avertable accidents. ?Yet, our police force prefers ‘actions coup de poing’, which are too sporadic in nature to have a lasting effect on a forgetful population of self-absorbed drivers. Else, no one would ever exceed any speed limit in remembrance of the people who were killed by the same Sorèze stretch on 3 May 2013…?But here, nothing will happen. Until and unless these incidents happen in quick succession AND many highly-connected individuals get involved. So, chicken will grow teeth in the meantime… probably.