Effect of curfew in Q2 2021 during the COVID crisis

The travel restrictions imposed in the 2nd quarter of 2021 result in the number of fatalities falling more sharply than the number of accidents.

As part of the health crisis linked to Covid-19, in metropolitan France, from 3 April to 2 May, travel is limited to 10 km. From 3 May, a curfew was introduced from 7pm to 6am, reduced from 9pm to 6am from 19 May, then from 11pm to 6am from 9 June and since 20 June there is no longer a curfew in mainland France.

The analysis of the second quarter of 2021 is presented in the ONISR's quarterly barometer

In April 2021, during the trips restrictions, traffic drops again, but the number of speed violation messages (MIF) does not follow the traffic trend and remains stable, suggesting more frequent speed violation. From May onwards, traffic and the number of MIFs continue to increase, and accident rates also start to rise again, with a peak in mid-June (+40% compared to the pre-crisis reference)

The study of accidents and fatalities at the beginning of the second quarter of 2021 shows a drop in the accident rate compared with the average for the second quarter of the five years before the health crisis (2015-2019), a drop that is greater for the number of fatalities than for the number of injuries. By the end of the second quarter of 2021, the accident rate tends towards the 2015-2019 level.


Fatalities by mode of travel, by week, illustrate the effect of the curfew on pedestrian fatalities, which are relatively low at the beginning of the second quarter during the travel restriction, and are then equivalent to those of previous years. This year the curfew forces people to return home while it is still light. Car deaths remain low because night-time outings are no longer authorised but also because teleworking is still strongly promoted to reduce the spread of COVID, as shown by the Cerema traffic index. On the other hand, motorcyclist fatalities are relatively equivalent to, or even higher than, the average for previous years, excluding the health crisis.


What is the accident pattern in the first quarter of 2021?

Despite teleworking, the number of accidents and victims are equivalent to previous years during the day and evening, only the morning peak is slightly lower in the second quarter of 2021.


Analysis of the reduction in fatalities by time of day indicates a greater reduction in fatalities during curfew hours than during the day, which explains the greater reduction in fatalities than in injuries.


Overall fatalities fall by -28% in the period April to June 2021 compared to the average of the last 5 years. Motorists and motorcyclists deaths contribute most to the decrease (2/3 and 1/6 respectively). Pedestrian fatalities remain lower than the 2015-2019 average (-31%). Cyclist fatalities are increasing (+16%).


The decreases in deaths among 65-74 year olds (-38%), 18-24 year olds (-35%) and 25-44 year olds (-34%) are greater than the overall decrease, contributing respectively to 1/7, 1/5 and 2/5 of the fewer deaths. Road deaths in the second quarter of 2021 fall in the same proportions for women and men compared to the years 2015-2019.


Cycling deaths on roads outside built-up areas are increasing

63 cyclists were killed in the second quarter of 2021 (25 in urban area raods and 38 rural roads) compared with an average of 47 killed in the second quarter of 2015-2019 (20 on urban area roads and 27 on rural roads). 58% of cyclists killed were aged 55 or over.

Cyclist fatalities on rural roads increased by +41% in the second quarter of 2021 compared with the 2015-2019 average and by +25% on urban area roads.


Data source : ONISR - Data on accidents involving injuries recorded by police forces - Geographical area : France mainland
Labelled series (definitive until 2020), 2021 estimate based on data as of
au 09/07/2021