In a desperate effort to stop drinking and driving in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s is to make France the first nation in the world to adopt a policy that requires all motorists to carry Breathalyzer kits in their vehicles.
France’s death toll on the roads in 2011 was 4,000, one-third of the deaths were alcohol related. This gives France the worst record for drunk driving in Europe. President Sarkozy is determined to reduce these dramatic and frightening statistics with this ground-breaking law involving breath testing kits. As of July 1st 2012 all motorists must carry a breathalyzer kit in their cars, anyone found without an official breath analysis device will be fined 11 euros, although a period of grace extends to November.
The hope is that French motorists will take a breath test before driving if they have been drinking any alcohol. The recently changed and much harsher penalty structure for driving when over the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.05 is expected to give drivers the extra incentive to take a test after alcohol. A glass or two of house red could just be enough to drive most people over the limit.
So, do we think it’s a good idea? in principle it seems to be flawless. However when that responsible French driver after having a couple of glasses of Merlot gets out their official testing kit, takes the test, finds that they are under the limit and safe to drive home they are now liable to be fined for not having a serviceable breath kit in their car. So they could be stopped several times and fined several times on the same journey home. So I think maybe bulk buying will be required knowing the French liking for wine with most meals and the Gendarmes desire to stop motorists at the drop of a hat. At £2.50 each, the kits could become as expensive as the wine!
And just to leave you with a sobering thought if you plan to drive through France on holiday you become liable to French laws, so best get a few kits before you travel. Halfords sell the official kit, so put them on your holiday check-list.
So do we still think it’s a good idea?