• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Government confirms new breathalyzer law

Matthew Warren · 1 Mar 2012, 12:56

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
13 injured in Welsh bus accident in France
The bus ended on its side in a ditch. Two helicopters were dispatched to the site. Photo: AFP

Thirteen people were injured, three of them seriously, when a bus carrying teenagers from Wales tipped over on a motorway in eastern France on Saturday, the local gendarmerie said.

Libya armed groups urge fight against French troops
Dozens of protesters rallied Friday outside the GNA’s former headquarters in a Tripoli navy base. Photo: AFP

Armed groups including Islamists have urged Libyans to mobilise against French and other foreign troops deployed in the country, denouncing their presence as a “blatant aggression”.

EgyptAir flight broke up midair after fire: report
The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean. Photo: AFP

An EgyptAir flight that crashed into the Mediterranean in May likely broke up in midair after a fire erupted in or near the cockpit, the New York Times has reported.

IMF boss Lagarde to stand trial over $400 million payout
Lagarde will be the third successive IMF chief to face trial. Photo: AFP

IMF chief Christine Lagarde was ordered Friday to stand trial in France over a massive state payout to a colourful tycoon when she was French economy minister, dealing a setback to her stellar career.

Hollande defends minister under fire over Nice attack
The Nice assault was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months. Photo: AFP

French President Francois Hollande on Friday defended his government from accusations it relaxed its anti-terror defences after the Euro championships, and announced plans to arm the fight against the Islamic State group which claimed the Nice attack.

Why was Nice ordered to delete CCTV images of attack?
Photo: AFP

The fact that city authorities in Nice were asked to delete images of the truck attack has only given weight to those criticizing the government.

Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Photo: Runs With Scissors/Flickr

Struggling to learn French? Here are some free and easy ways to help you conquer the language once and for all.

32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
Photo: Tatyana A./Flickr

How many of these have you committed?

France to supply Iraq artillery as it steps up fight against Isis
Photo: AFP

France is stepping up its battle against Isis in the Middle East.

How to show solidarity with France? Don’t cancel your trip
Photo: AFP

The best way to show fraternity with France after the latest terror attack is not on Facebook or Twitter, but by coming to visit.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Ten reasons not to leave Paris this summer
Ten ways other expats in France drive you mad
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'Very Stupid' village in France honoured for its silly name
Travel
Ten crazy things to do in France if you dare
Society
Paris: an obstacle course for wheelchair users
Brits ignore Brexit fears to make dream move to France
2,765
jobs available