France Brings In New Breathalyzer Law
If you’re planning on driving on a French vacation this year you might be in for a blow up surprise. A new law has come into force in France last week that makes it compulsory for drivers to carry at least two breathalyzer kits in their vehicles or face the risk of having a roadside on the spot fine.
Foreign drivers are not exempt from the law, however there is a period of ’grace’ running all the way to November. All motorists are also required to carry with them a fluorescent high visibility vest or jacket and one of those dandy reflective warning triangles.
The new breathalyzer law is the latest move by the French authorities to bring down the high number of deaths on the roads caused by alcohol and alcohol intoxication. There are some four thousand people killed on French roads each year, with drink-driving the major factor in all accidents, even ahead of speeding.
One of the reasons for breathalyzers in cars, the authorities suggest, is so that drivers who have had a drink and suspect they might be over the limit can give themselves a test and if they find they are over the limit not drive their car.
Currently there are two sorts of tests available, a relatively low cost chemical tube and bag which can be used just once. Or a higher priced technologically advanced electronic device which can be used over and over again. Millions of these kits will be needed and at the moment there is a shortage, another reason for such a long ‘grace’ period.
Views of drivers are somewhat mixed, while some see it as good and positive idea aimed at reducing road deaths. Others believe it is an excessive intrusion by the government after fancy lobbying by the French industrial sector. It was the former president Nicolas Sarkozy who gave the go ahead not long before he left office.