14 Jan 2005

Tough measures to lower road fatalities in New Caledonia

5:43 am on 14 January 2005

People caught speeding on New Caledonia's roads may soon face a prison sentence.

It's one of many measures brought to lower the number of fatalities on the territory's roads.

Other measures include lowering the speed limit on some highways and the temporary or permanent cancellation of offenders' driving licenses.

84 people died last year in road accidents -which is double the number of the year before.

900 people were injured and the government estimates it has cost the territory 13 million US dollars.

Local road safety committee chairman, Thierry Valet, said the toll was four times higher then in metropolitan France, and that most of the victims were under 30 years old.

Mr Valet said there were currently around twenty thousand drivers in New Caledonia who don't hold a valid driving license and in some cases, never have done.