Breathalyser kits - more time to comply

In our June Newsletter we told you about a new law in France, effective from 1st July 2012, where there must be one unused breathalyser kit in your car at all times - the idea being that drivers will test themselves to ensure they are under drink-drive limits to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities. The legal limit in France is 0.5 grams per litre, which equates to 50mg per 100ml of blood, lower than many other countries. The advice is that you should have at least two kits in your car so that if you use one, you still have a spare.

At the time of writing that article stocks were already very low and it was virtually impossible to get hold of the kits that comply and are NF approved (Normes Françaises).

A period of grace was granted until 1st November to allow time for drivers to get their kits before receiving an on the spot fine of 11 euros if they don't have one.

It seems the two factories that have been given the main contracts for production of these kits by the Government simply cannot keep up with demand and it is still virtually impossible to get hold of one. The date for fines has therefore been put back to March 2013. Rumours abound that it may be put back even further or abolished altogether as the new interior minister Manuel Valls undertakes a survey of relevant groups to evaluate if there really is a need for breathalyser kits after all. We will keep you posted of any developments.

Don't forget while driving in France you are also required to have a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest with you at all times. The vest must be kept inside the car and not in the boot. And expect to be fined 1,500 euros if you are caught with a satellite navigation system that shows the location of speed cameras - even if the device is not in use. Not compulsory, but highly recommended, is that you carry a spare set of lights, so that if one of your bulbs goes you can replace it and avoid being fined, as well as a fire extinguisher and first aid kit so that you do not to fall foul of a law about assisting in the event of an accident.

Happy driving !