Breathalysers must be in your car from 1st July

Breathalyser kit

The French strive, through various laws, to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities year on year, and have done so with success to date.

The latest law brought in, with effect from 1st July 2012, is to make drivers more responsible and aware regarding driving under the influence of alcohol. The idea is that drivers will test themselves to ensure they are under drink-drive limits

There must be one unused kit in your car at all times, so Police suggest you always have two so that if you use one, you are still compliant with the law. Rumor has it that initially you will just get a 'severe talking to' and that there will be no prosecutions until 1st November. After that, drivers caught without a kit will be fined 11 euros. However, if you are stopped for suspected drink-driving the Police will use their own breathalysers to carry out any roadside test. It is important to remember that the French drink-driving limit of 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood is much lower than many other countries.

Breathalyser kit

Government approved breathalyser kits, or éthylotests, can be purchased at pharmacies for around 2-3 euros. They must be NF approved (Normes Françaises) and have the NF logo on the packet.

Stocks are low, and in many places non-existent, so drivers are being advised to order now to be sure to have the kits by November.

As a reminder, when driving in France, motorists are legally obliged to have a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest with them at all times. The luminous vest must be kept in the car with you, so that you can put it on before you get out of the car and are therefore immediately visible and protected. If you are stopped and it is in your boot then you can expect to be fined.

It is also illegal to have a satellite navigation system that shows the location of speed cameras. Those caught can be fined 1,500 euros even if the device is not in use.

Drive carefully!

Breathalyser kit