France targets toxic masculinity to reduce traffic fatalities

France’s most recent road safety campaign, there are no lectures on the risks of driving while intoxicated or high, nor are there any “tiredness kills” cautions.

The national road safety agency is instead concentrating on combating toxic masculinity, which it claims is costing lives.

In France, men are responsible for 84 per cent of fatal collisions and 78 per cent of traffic fatalities.

In the country, men make up about 93 per cent of those hurt in incidents involving drunk drivers.

The safety agency, Securite Routiere, said it wants to ‘smash the stereotypes’ that lead men to see their cars and performance behind the wheel as a ‘display to other men of their strength and their physical and social power’.

In the campaign film, a father meets his infant son for the first time in a maternity unit.

He tells his infant son that he can be ‘a sensitive man, a man who cries, a man who knows how to show emotion’.

Florence Guillaume, head of the safety agency, said: “It is urgent to liberate men from the social expectation that incites them to associate virility with risk-taking.”

For the agency’s study group, psychologists discovered that whereas women viewed vehicles primarily as a mode of transportation, males considered driving as defining virility.

Ms Guillaume said the campaign is an urgent attempt to prevent testosterone-fuelled behaviour that leads to fatal collisions.

“We are not out to generalise or stigmatise,” she said. “We can’t leave this reality at the roadside.”

The UK’s accident figures broken down by sex convey a similar message even though there are twice as many traffic deaths in France than in the UK.

According to government statistics, men made up 62 per cent of all casualties and 78 per cent of fatalities in 2021.

Could it be time for the UK to follow France’s lead? Lorna Lee, from the AA Charitable Trust, was enthusiastic, telling the Mail: “This is a fresh take on a well-known issue.

“UK crash statistics have shown for many years that male drivers, especially young male drivers, are disproportionately represented in crashes.”

Adding: “There will be many factors contributing to this including how much driving people are doing, the roads they are driving on and whether or not speed, drink or drugs are involved.

“Road safety campaigns have the greatest impact when they are effectively targeted, as this one is.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) pointed out that their ‘THINK!’ campaign A Mate Doesn’t Let A Mate Drink Drive aimed at young men was launched in 2017, followed by Mates for Life in 2021 which encourages young men to have their friends’ backs and stop them from drink driving by talking about the adventures and friendship they will enjoy over their lives.

A DfT spokesman said: “While Britain’s roads are some of the safest in the world we’re committed to further reducing collisions.

“Our THINK! campaign is specifically targeted at young men who are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers over 25.”

2 thoughts on “France targets toxic masculinity to reduce traffic fatalities”

  1. Robin Lamport

    If that is the case then we need to put out upsetting adverts and ADI’s should be discussing theses subjects more. Also recreational drugs are becoming more apparent. Messages on motorways have no idea about the message Don’t take drugs or drugs kill. It’s all about cost and we need to grow up and accept nothing is free in life. Just look at the state of our roads all down to poor investment, trying to save the tax payer is a load of rubbish.

  2. Policing Through

    As usual, the tired old chestnut of the UK having the second or third lowest fatalities is rolled out as something to be proud about and evidence of our good driving. This is utter nonsense.

    Yes, the French do kill over twice as many as we do, but do not have twice the number of serious injuries, which one would expect. Something does not add up. Look inside a frontline emergency ambulance in France and it all becomes clear.

    It contains a bed, first aid kit, burns kit, vacuum splints, a cylinder of oxygen and an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). That is it. Staff are not allowed to give any drugs at all, not even aspirin for a suspected heart attack. There is no pain relief whatsoever, not even Entonox. No lines can be inserted. Pricking a finger for a drop of blood for blood sugar analysis is classed as an intrusive procedure.

    There are A & E doctors called SAMU available but in Calvados, an area roughly the size of Hampshire, albeit with half the population, if 3 SAMU units are available, it is a good day.

    France does not use paramedics but rather advanced first aid trained firemen. They are very dedicated and hard working but are light years away from a UK paramedic. All they can do is to splint, bandage and hope for the best. I have a video from the Calvados fire service showing a woman in a car crash with a broken pelvis, an excruciating injury. All they could was to tell this poor woman to stay calm and hang on.

    As a result, serious injuries arrive in hospital with the worst of the holes plugged and that is it. No intra venous lines are put in ready for treatment and the patient will be deteriorating due to pain, never mind other injuries, especially invisible internal damage.

    My hypothesis is that if we were to swap the Calvados and Hampshire ambulance services, our death would soar and theirs plummet.

    This means that our driving is not better than anybody else but rather we have a truly fantastic ambulance service. This is reflected in the figures. Deaths in the UK have remained static at around 1,750 a year since 2011. This is nothing to be proud about. If that many died on building sites or factories, there would be hell to pay. On the roads? Everyone else kills more, so that is fine. We are not among the best but rather among the least bad, which is not the same thing at all.

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