August marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana. What many people are not aware of, however, is how Di’s tragic death in a Paris tunnel in 1997 significantly changed the driving landscape in France, and significantly reduced the number of car accidents.
After the accident in a Paris tunnel in 1997, French investigators came to the conclusion that the accident was the result of unsafe and dangerous driving practices. In 2002, the French government signed a number of new laws that were specifically designed to help reduce the incidence of unsafe driving. As a result of those laws, traffic accident fatalities in the country actually dropped by as much as one-third. This is a substantial reduction. According to Statista, the United States had 6.3 million car accidents in 2015. Therefore, if the United States was able to achieve a similar outcome, this would result in 2.1 million fewer car accidents each year.
In the new study, researchers claim that France’s decision to enact traffic safety laws in the aftermath of the tragic and high-profile death significantly improved traffic safety in that country, and may have helped save many lives. In fact, the study suggests that thousands of French lives could possibly have been saved as a result of these legal changes that were enacted. French road fatalities in the decades after the fatal crash fell by as much as 30% on an average, compared with an average of 15% in the United States.