• France's news in English
 

Government confirms new breathalyzer law

Published: 01 Mar 2012 12:56 GMT+01:00

The French government announced officially on Thursday that all cars must carry a single-use breathalyzer kit from July 1st.

The move, which has been widely reported for some time, was made official in a decree on February 28th and published on Thursday.

"Every driver of a motorised land vehicle, excluding mopeds, must possess an unused and immediately available breathlyzer," said the decree, published in the official gazette ("Journal Officiel de la République Française").

Transport ministry officials told The Local that the rule would apply equally to vehicles from outside France.

July and August are busy months on the French roads as millions of French people and tourists head for their holiday destinations.

A fine of €11 ($15) will be charged to anyone not carrying the breathalyzer kit, but police have been told to start fining only from November 1st.

The new law is the latest attempt to reduce France's road accident rate.

Around 4,000 people died on French roads in 2011, a very slight improvement on the figure for the year before.

Drink driving is believed to be responsible for one in three road deaths.

The government hopes having a kit in the car will allow people to test themselves and to give them the means to test others if they suspect they are over the limit. 

The legal blood alcohol limit in France is 0.5 grams per litre.

The single-use tests cost between €0.50 and €1.50 and manufacturers are rushing to produce enough to meet expected demand.

President Nicolas Sarkozy promised the measure in November in the hope of slashing drink driving, responsible for 31 percent of fatal road accidents.

Disposable breathalysers have been available in French bars and nightclubs since then.

New coaches have been equipped with breathalyser tests that prevent drivers starting the ignition since January 2010. The devices are to be installed in all coaches by the start of the 2015 school year.

A total of 3,970 people died on French roads in 2011, down barely 0.5 percent or 22 lives compared to 2010.

When Sarkozy came to power in 2007 he set the government the ambitious target of reducing annual road deaths to 3,000 by 2012.

The new breathalyzer requirement will be added to the existing rules compelling drivers to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest. Failure to have these in the car can lead to a €90 fine.

More information is available, in French, on the website of the government road safety agency, Sécurité Routière.

 

Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Migrant dies in botched Eurotunnel crossing
Ten migrants have died at the Calais post in the past two months. Photo: AFP

Migrant dies in botched Eurotunnel crossing

French authorities said on Thursday that a migrant had died from head injuries suffered in a weekend attempt to cross the Channel into England, bringing the number of such deaths to ten since June. READ  

France's Réunion braces for volcano eruption
‘The Peak of the Furnace’ has been spewing out more gases than usual. Photo: Richard Bouhet /AFP

France's Réunion braces for volcano eruption

Le Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world and a main tourist attraction on the Réunion island, was evacuated Thursday as authorities warned of an imminent eruption. READ  

Ten things you didn't know about gay Paris
Do you know where to find penis-shaped bakery goods in Paris? Photo: Legay Choc/Facebook

Ten things you didn't know about gay Paris

There's a lot more to the gay scene in Paris than just the Marais - so we asked the experts at The Gay Locals to come up with a list of ten things you probably didn't know about Gay Paris. READ  

Réunion debris 'very likely' from Boeing 777
A policeman and a gendarme stand next to a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion. Photo: AFP

Réunion debris 'very likely' from Boeing 777

UPDATED: The Malaysian Prime Minister said it was "very likely" that a piece of plane wreckage that washed up on the shores of Réunion was part of a Boeing 777, the same kind of plane as the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. READ  

French mayor 'to force artists to mind kids'
The National Front mayor in Fréjus doesn’t feel the town hasn’t received enough in return from the artists. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/ AFP

French mayor 'to force artists to mind kids'

A far-right mayor in the southern town of Fréjus is allegedly considering making a group of local artists mind children in exchange for the rent subsidies they receive. READ  

British press bashes France over Calais crisis
The British press is blaming France for the situation in Calais. Photo: Philippe Huguen/ AFP

British press bashes France over Calais crisis

British tabloids combined two of their favourite themes in covering the Calais migrants controversy Thursday -- French bashing and railing against the government response to illegal immigration. READ  

French nuclear giant Areva to sell unit to EDF
The headquarters of the French nuclear group Areva in La Defense near ParisPhoto: AFP

French nuclear giant Areva to sell unit to EDF

Atomic energy giant Areva on Thursday agreed to sell a majority stake of its nuclear reactor unit to electricity group EDF as part of an awaited reconfiguration of the French sector. READ  

Ex-Sarkozy advisor charged in fraud probe
French former President Nicolas Sarkozy and Patrick Buisson. Photo: AFP

Ex-Sarkozy advisor charged in fraud probe

A one-time advisor to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was charged on Wednesday with abusing his position to profit from state funds, as part of an inquiry into alleged fraud in awarding contracts to opinion polling companies. READ  

French far right wants Le Pen senior gone
Jean-Marie Le Pen. Photo: AFP

French far right wants Le Pen senior gone

An overwhelming 94 percent of France's National Front (FN) members have voted in favour of stripping ex-leader Jean-Marie Le Pen of his title of honorary president, the far-right party announced Wednesday. READ  

France eyes boost to holiday leave rights
People enjoy the sun by the seaside on a beach in the French Mediterranean resort of Argeles-sur-Mer, southern France. Photo: AFP

France eyes boost to holiday leave rights

Most new employees at French firms have to work for at least a year before they can take paid holidays but that could be about to change if one group of MPs have their way. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Learn more about the Bayonne festival - France's wildest party
Features
What's on in France: Ten things to do in August
Features
What to see and do at the Paris Plages this summer
Saudi royals 'bar' French policewomen from beach
Take a closer look at the 560,000-year-old tooth found in France
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
National
'B**ch' and 'brainless': French shop slurs clients
Travel
French cops rebel over order to give kids sweets
National
New measures to stop migrant deaths in Calais
Travel
Here are some of the most ridiculous comments you'll read about France
Features
Life may be about to get easier for expats settling in France
National
Burning tyres and blocking roads is just the way the French do strikes
National
Muslim tourists visiting French Alps are reminded of burqa ban
Opinion
Slim and chic: Are French women fed up of the stereotypes?
French officials defend handing public beach over to Saudi royals
Society
French kiss: Should expats in France do 'la bise' among themselves?
National
Paris commuters and tourists face summer of travel trouble
This man learnt the entire French vocabulary in nine weeks, but why?
French speed cameras snare tens of thousands of British drivers
Gallery
What kind of expat in France are you: A lover or a loather?
Society
French tweeters reveal the trials and tribulations of #GrowingupFrench
Where to find the best (and worst) quality of life in France
National
Riviera rumpus as Saudi royals grab public beach all for themselves
What we know about France's foiled terror plot
Features
Here are ten places in Paris where you can escape the summer heat
National
Coup d'état fails in France after being snubbed by military
Are shoppers in northern France the most honest in the world?
French woman fined €90 for driving in flip-flops
Cyclists in Paris get the green light to jump red
'Adieu France': Angry mum's parting rant goes viral
Franco-German rift opens over Greece and it could take time to heal
The Megavalanche: The most spectacular cycling event in France
Ex-French PM's daughter creates a buzz by going topless for photo shoot
Could Parisians be bathing in the Seine by 2024?
Paris unveils new mobile app to help non-French speakers
France declares war on public transport sex pests
So where's the best place to live in France if you want to be happy?
Opinion
Paris: The City of Light, Romance, Style and the worst loos in Europe?
National
Eight ways living in France will change your lifestyle for good
International
Why French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Ten ideas that could improve the quality of life in Paris
National
Rules for taking selfies at the Eiffel Tower: No.1 Keep your clothes on
National
Paris's trendy Canal Saint-Martin is now more tip than hip
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,605
jobs available