France orders breathalyser for motorists

 

Many motorists at Dover, Britain, are unaware of the new French law

A new law has come into force in France making it compulsory for drivers to carry a breathalyser kit in their vehicles or risk an on-the-spot fine.

It is the latest move by the government aimed at bringing down the number of road deaths caused by alcohol.

All motorists must also have with them a high-visibility safety vest and a warning triangle.

Foreign drivers are included in the new rule, however there is a grace period until November.

Some 4,000 people are killed on French roads every year, with drink-driving being the main factor in accidents ahead even of speeding.

Bonanza for manufacturers

The French government hopes that with breathalysers in every car, drivers who suspect they may be over the limit can test themselves and if necessary refrain from taking the wheel.

The former government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, which gave the go-ahead to the new law, said it hoped 500 lives might be saved every year.

A woman uses a breathalyser (Ethylotest) on June 26, 2012 in the French western city of Quimper Motorists driving without the two breathalyser tests will be handed a fine of 11 euros

Under the rules, which exclude mopeds, drivers who fail to produce a breathalyser after 1 November will face a fine of 11 euros.

The kits come in two types: expensive electronic ones which can be reused; and cheap chemical ones, says the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris.

Tens of millions of the kits are going to have to be supplied, but right now there is a shortage, which is one reason for the four-month grace period, our correspondent says.

He adds that the new rule is proving a bonanza for manufacturers, of which there are only two in France.

Meanwhile, drivers' groups opposing the measure say it has been foisted on France by clever industry lobbying.

To enforce the regulations, French police say they plan to carry out random checks on those entering the country through the Channel Tunnel, as well as drivers arriving on ferries.

Retailers in Britain say sales of breathalysers have risen considerably due to the law, the Press Association reports.

Car accessory retailer Halfords said there had been unprecedented demand, but said that 6 out of 10 Britons travelling to France were not aware of the changes.

The drink-driving limit in France is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - 30mg less than the UK limit.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 441.

    This will not work in France or elsewhere.

    Everyone responds differently to intoxication - but in every person good judgement is the first thing to go (think "Dutch courage").

    This lack of good judgement is why people drive when they are drunk, and why they will not test themselves

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 440.

    "What a crazy idea, will blowing in a bag stop someone who is drunk from getting behind the wheel, unlikely!>>>>It might sdtop some, which makes it worthwhile.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 439.

    423. Christopher Brown
    1 HOUR AGO
    Why is this the only item of news where comment is allowed?
    ==
    Advertising revenue.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 438.

    @436 - but I will have to BUY them even though I don't want to. So civil liberties are not 'fine'. It's forcing non-drinkers to purchase something which they should not have to. If you don't drink, you've done nothing wrong, you're innocent. So why should you be put to any expense? It's the guilty who should pay. Very, very heavily.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 437.

    Ces't Domage. Je N'avez pas vacance en Grenoille land. Ces't tout.
    Plus de beurre.......chacon a sont gout. (oh! Gout! how con-thingy )

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 436.

    This is a brilliant idea. After all, you don't have to use them if you don't want to (if you have had nothing to drink then you wouldn't need to) so civil liberties are fine. And if you have had a drink, it will give you peace of mind of whether it's legal for you to drive. I think a fair amount of drink driving is done by people who just aren't sure and so take the risk, this prevents that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 435.

    Is death through alcohol-use really a problem on French roads?
    It's just that here the ROSPA says that "excessive speed" only plays a part in 4% of RTAs, yet we are camera-d to the hilt - often creating 'black spots' in themselves.
    Quality first money second say I.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 434.

    I was talking to an Australian today who said anyone caught there more than once driving over the legal limit of 0.05 is required to have an ignition lock on their vehicle which incorporates a breathalyser. Over the limit and you can't start the car. Sounds good to me.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 433.

    Some vehicles (notably Scandinavian) are available with an alcolock i.e. an in-car breathalyser that immoblises the vehicle if failed. Needless to say these are useless as all you need is a sober passer-by or passenger to blow into the tube for you.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 432.

    It looks to be very usual to acquire and keep breathalysers by the drivers themselves in France, but beyond this action is the freedom of French police from keeping this device by themselves or keeping a stock of breathalysers at their headquarters. Sooner or later, other countries, too, have to produce themselves or import breathalysers which seems to be a good trade and business.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 431.

    This is just crackpot stuff....another very good reason for a referendum to opt out of EU lunacy before it is imposed on us as well...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 430.

    This is fairly typical of French nannyism - you're obliged to carry a breathaliser, but not obliged to use it. I have to carry a hi-vis vest - yet I was recently stopped by paramilitary police, who had no such vests. They prefer to wear low visibility urban camouflage for road checks.

    I had to prove kids inoculations were up to date for recent school day trip. Peoples Pop Republic of France :)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 429.

    @427

    'Easy way'?

    Sounds like the most expensive way imaginable. I shudder to wonder how much my 14 yr old Toyota will cost to update.......?

  • Comment number 428.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 427.

    Easy way to enforce a "No drive if drinking" is build in sensors on the steering wheel that measure the amount of alcohol coming out of the drivers skin. If too high the car just does not start!
    And for those who say "Ah but gloves" Have it "keyed" to the vehicle owner's DNA and permitted drivers, also cut down on car theft.

  • Comment number 426.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 425.

    How many people know it is illegal to have anything eg sat nav with you that can warn of speed cameras even if not in use ?? So no sat nav, warning triangle, hi vis jacket and now 2 breath testing devices ! Soon it will be no wine - but only for non French as police not interested in catching their countrymen

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 424.

    422. TheBladesman
    Lets hope this doesn't become another unwanted EU law imposed on the UK.
    +++
    This is a French domestic Law, this has nothing to do with the EU.
    (But I suspect you knew that but why let the facts get in the way of a good rant eh?)

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 423.

    Why is this the only item of news where comment is allowed?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 422.

    This is daft. People will buy the breathalysers but then never use them. Whats the point?

    Jees, don't we give the French enough money through the Common Agricultural Policy without being fined for this.

    Lets hope this doesn't become another unwanted EU law imposed on the UK.

 

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