Road Safety News
 

French Government makes breathalyser compulsory accessory for drivers

Friday 20th January 2012

French authorities have warned UK drivers planning to travel to France that they face an on-the-spot fine of €17 if they fail to carry a breathalyser in their vehicle (kentnews.co.uk).

A breathalyser is the latest in a long list of items British motorists must ensure they have to avoid being fined by the French authorities. Other include a spare pair of glasses, spare headlight bulbs, a warning triangle, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, headlamp adaptors, a GB sticker and a florescent safety vest.

The requirement for drivers to carry a breathalyser has been introduced as part of an on-going programme by the French Government to reduce the number of road deaths in France.

Andrew Kelly, marketing and PR manager at DFDS Seaways which operates services between the UK and France, said: “Although the new law is not due to be implemented until the spring, and final details are still to be announced, we want to ensure our passengers are fully aware of the obligation to carry a breathalyser in their vehicles when driving on French roads and will be fully prepared.”

Click here to read the full ‘kent.co.uk’ report.

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A French friend said that even a passenger can be breath tested if sitting in the front passenger seat . Can this be ?
Adrian Cornwall

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You can buy these breathalysers online at http://www.alcosense.co.uk/alcosense-singles.html and other places with the right limit for UK or European driving. France has a lower limit than the UK so make sure you get the right one. Also take over where you spend your money, I bought a cheap digital breathalyser off Amazon and it's no better than a toy - there are a few manufacturers selling these disposables and they're probably more reliable. Confusing trying to find any decent info online on this though isn't it?!
Steve, Tunbridge Wells

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+2

We're going to need a bigger car!!
Adrian, Bolton

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+1

For Keith in Bucks some info and links about Hi-viz for motorcyclists in France, its not a hi-viz jacket/vest. http://www.righttoride.eu/?p=8934 and http://www.fema-online.eu/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=275&cntnt01returnid=15
Trevor, N. Ireland

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Suppose a driver tests +ve on the police unit, but the drivers own unit says -ve?

Is that grounds for the driver to say they weren't drunk and they can prove it?

If they required device cannot determine if under the dd limit by law, then what is the point?
Dave Finney - Slough

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We have all lost the point. It's a money saving thing by the French.

When stopped, instead of the authority having to produce a breath testing device it's going to be up to us. We have to blow into our own and then be arrested if we are over the limit.

What is the limit in France anyway? I am sure it's much lower than ours.
bob Craven

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+1

Will rental cars have all this equipment for people who fly into France? And what if you rent your car in Germany or Switzerland?
James C. Walker, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA - frequent EU visitor

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I don't see how it can hurt - it's only a Euro, and perhaps if everyone has one in their car no one will be able to leave the bar claiming they 'think' they are under the limit!
Christine, Toulouse

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So if I buy a disposable one, and just put it in the glove box and not use it that would be ok! Crazy.

What's the thinking behind this? Are there drivers claiming they didn't realise they were drunk? Surely the French authorities take the same view as the English - that not knowing you drunk is no excuse.
Adam, Hants

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I am informed that the disposable breathaliser will be on sale in some pharmacies and garages, priced at 1Ä. Apparently some garages may offer them "free to good customers". I would have thought that any use of them could be the subject of legal argument.
Brian, RSGB

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Dave, Leeds: motorcyclists are not required to carry the triangle or extinguisher, thuogh beware that there may soon be a requiremtn for us (bikers) to wear a fluorescent jacket. For more info, see www.jthebs.com, FAQ section.
Keith, Bucks

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Not only those items mentioned but if your sat nav or smart phone can detect speed cameras on on then that is also deemed unlawful though it has to be on and that can be a problem for the police.

The fine will be over £1200 and no doubt that will lead to the bike or car being taken into custody untill the fine is paid.

The only saving grace is that that will not become law [if it ever does] in 2013 so those going France then have time to save up.
bob craven

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I always thought that the French (and other EU country) requirements were actually quite sensible and that we should do much the same here... but a breathalyser? That's just bonkers!
Alex Bailey, Corby, England

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So do I buy one here or wait until I get to France?
Allan Marsh ,Isle of Wight

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Of course the breathalyser will have to be of French manufacture to comply with their alcohol limit. The last thing they want is for you to buy your breathalyser in Britain!
A. Howlett

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I cannot see how the breathalyser will stop people who are drunk from driving, especially if it is not wired to the ignition.
Edward Pascoe

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That's a nice little earner for someone isn't it?
Chris, London

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This may mean that Iíll have to holiday on my own as there wonít be enough room in the car for my wife with all this compulsory equipment. But to be serious, there could be a problem if the breathalyser is purchased in the UK and is of a pre-set pass or fail type. The drink drive limit in the UK is much higher than it is in France.
Iíll be interested to see how this unfolds.
David Clark, North Yorkshire

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Can anyone shed any light on what equipment motorcyclists are required to carry in France? Presumably not a fire extinquisher or a warning triangle.
Dave, Leeds

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