SHARE
COPY LINK

DRIVING

Is France moving towards a zero drink drive limit?

Could France be heading to a legal drink drive limit of zero? That's what the health minister wants and her campaign received an unexpected boost over the weekend when the agriculture minister - with responsibility for France's wine growers - backed her proposal.

Is France moving towards a zero drink drive limit?
The French drink drive limit is already lower than many other countries. Photo: AFP

Health minister Agnès Buzyn has stated that she wants to lower France's drink drive limit from its current level of 0.5g/L (the equivalent of one small beer or one small glass of wine) to zero.

At this stage it is very much a proposal and hasn't even been brought before the French parliament yet, but her campaign received a boost over the weekend when agriculture minister Didier Guillaume appeared to back her.

READ ALSO What are the penalties if you drink and drive in France?


Health minister Agnès Buzyn has even banned wine at lunchtime in the French Health Ministry. Photo: AFP 

The minister, who as part of his brief represents French wine growers, told radio station RTL: “I think we can party and drink drinks and that drinking French wine is very good. But when you drink you don't drive.”

France has a high rate of drink driving, police recorded 123,926 drink driving offences in 2017, and drink driving caused the deaths of 1,035 people that year.

At the weekends, alcohol is said to be behind 58 percent of all road deaths.

In some, largely rural, areas it is still seen as socially acceptable to get behind the wheel after a couple of glasses of wine, but the French government is increasingly trying to crack down on drink driving.

Earlier this year a new law was rolled out giving drink drivers the option of having a breathlyser fitted to the car, which would not allow the ignition to start unless they provided a sample of less than 0.2g/L of blood.

There are also stiff penalties in place for people caught drunk behind the wheel.

Driving with more than 0.8g/l of alcohol in the blood can lead to a two-year jail sentence, a three-year driving ban or installing a breathalyser in the vehicle, and a fine of up to €4,500.

In 2013, the French government tried to remind drivers of their responsibility by making it compulsory to keep a breathalyser in the car. The idea was that if people were unsure if they were over the limit or not they could test themselves before getting behind the wheel.

However after several years of confusion over its application, the law was quietly scrapped earlier this year.

As health minister, Agnès Buzyn has gained a bit of a reputation as an anti-drinker, stating that guidelines for drinking alcohol while pregnant should be reduced to zero and opposing the sale of alcohol on the terraces of sports grounds.

And in a move that appears to have shocked some of her colleagues, she has even banned wine from being served at lunchtime in the Ministry of Health.

 

Member comments

  1. This move would pretty well destroy what’s left of the rural bar and hospitality industry. It’s only the idiots that drink far too much, who spoil it for everyone else.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

LIVING IN FRANCE

Property bargains, energy prices, and myth-busting: 6 essential articles for life in France

Where you could bag a property bargain in France, how energy prices aren’t soaring in France, and why the leaves are falling earlier than usual - plus a couple of myths well and truly busted - here are six essential articles for life in France.

Property bargains, energy prices, and myth-busting: 6 essential articles for life in France

While French cities such as Paris are notoriously expensive, there are many areas outside the cities where it is still possible to buy spacious homes for less than €100,000 – particularly if you don’t mind a bit of renovation.

MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

Speaking of property – here’s some potential good news for some second-home owners; the French government has put in place a new online process for regular visitors in France to get a carte de séjour – here’s who is eligible for this and how to apply.

Can second-home owners in France get a carte de séjour?

Reasons to be cheerful about living in France: as energy prices soar around Europe, France is the notable exception where most people have seen no significant rise in their gas or electricity bills – so what lies behind this policy?

And no, it’s not because the French would riot if their bills exploded, or not entirely, anyway.

EXPLAINED: Why are French energy prices capped?

It might look like autumn outside in certain parts of France, but it certainly feels like summer.

So, why are the leaves falling from the trees? And what does that mean for your garden?

Reader question: Why are the leaves falling in summer and does that mean my garden is dead?

The Da Vinci Code starts here – with the legend of a penniless priest who once stumbled upon gold hidden in the French countryside. It’s a story that still inspires treasure-hunters.

We look deeper into the myth – and help you decide if you should stock up on a shovel and a metal detector.

French history myths: There is buried treasure in Rennes-le-Château

Speaking of myths, apparently, kids and long train journeys do mix…

Hoping to do his bit for the planet, perhaps save some money and avoid spending any time at Charles de Gaulle airport, The Local’s Europe editor Ben McPartland decided to travel 2,000km with his family from Paris to southern Portugal by train rather than plane.

Here’s what he had to say about the experience.

Yes, train travel from France across Europe is far better than flying – even with kids

SHOW COMMENTS