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France introduces car breathalyser law - again

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France introduces car breathalyser law - again
An employee of the Pelimex company at Ingwiller in Eastern France checks a breathalyser (Ethylotest). A law forcing motorists to have one in their cars has been suspended. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP
19:00 CET+01:00
The confusion appears to be over. The French government confirmed on Friday that it will be compulsory for motorists to carry breathalyser kits in their cars. The move comes after the Interior Ministry has suspended legislation earlier this year.

The  slightly shambolic attempt to introduce a law making it mandatory for motorists in France to carry a breathalyser kit in their car, appears to have been resolved once for all.

The law, first introduced last summer, was suspended earlier this year by the Interior Minister Manuel Valls, before the government road safety advisory body then recommended it be re-introduced.

On Friday the French government followed their advice and resurrected the law.

However there is one significant change in that anyone caught without a breathalyser in their vehicle will not be punished after the government decided to scrap the proposed €11 fine.

How it will be enforced is still unclear.

The law, which was brought in to try and cut the number of road deaths linked to drink driving, required all drivers to carry an unused breathalyser test in their cars, either disposable ones or a reusable digital device.

But drivers found it hard to get their hands on the disposable test kits, with stores across the country frequently forced to put up 'out-of-stock' notices. Suppliers could not keep up with the demand.

Questions were also raised over the reliability of the breathalysers, known as Ethylotests in France, and whether the results were accurate.

The law will affect foreign motorists driving in France as well as those riding mopeds.

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