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?

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In December 2011 Roads Minister Mike Penning decided that the time had come to change the law and make it possible for learner drivers to have motorway lessons. By the summer of 2012 learner drivers from 17 years of age (16 if currently getting Disability Living Allowance at the higher rate (mobility component) will be let loose on UK Motorways. Read more »

When you look out of the window on a cold winter’s morning and see that an overnight snowfall has left the roads white with several centimetres of snow , does the thought of slipping and sliding as you drive to work worry you? Even the most experienced of drivers know how hazardous it can be negotiating hills and bends or even simply coming to a normal stop on snow or ice covered roads. We can minimise the risk not only by respecting the conditions but also fitting winter tyres. Read more »

The low winter sun can be a menace to visibility at the best of times, but with a dirty windscreen it can be catastrophic. Wearing sun glasses in the bright low sun is helpful but if the screen is not perfectly clean, the brilliance of the sun’s glare will highlight any blemishes marking it. Insects, fuel fumes, spots of oil and tar all steadily build up on your most important viewing area. Simply washing the glass will not remove all of these deposits, however, a cheap and easy remedy is at hand. Take a soft cloth (microfibre are first-rate), moisten with neat vinegar, use white if you don’t like the smell and vigorously clean the glass to remove any flecks of grime then finish off with warm soapy water. Read more »

Snow and icy conditions are reported to be on their way again!

Whether you are new driver still in the learning process or a proficient driver with many years of experience, driving in wintry conditions can be very foreboding. You not only need to think about how you drive, but also how you prepare your vehicle for adverse conditions. Several simple precautions can be taken to make winter driving easier and safer, such as: Read more »