Self-test breathalyser kits postponed indefinitely

This debate looks destined to continue doing the rounds for a while yet in France's bid to improve road safety. It was a legal requirement as of July last year to carry at least one unused breathalyser (éthylote) kit in your car at all times so that you can test yourself before driving to ensure you are under the drink-drive limits (which are lower in France than many other countries).

Then a massive nationwide shortage of the breathalysers caused the government to delay implementing the law until 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.

Then it was extended yet again to March of this year to allow the factories to produce enough to meet the demand as it is still virtually impossible to get hold of one. Prices have risen from the recommended 1€ per kit to 5€ in some cases.

The new interior minister Manuel Valls undertook a survey of relevant groups to evaluate it in the face of criticism regarding the effectiveness of, not only the law, but the kits themselves.

Following a recent conference on road safety, Valls has announced that he is postponing the application of this law indefinitely. Although in 2012 there was a signification reduction in the number of people killed on the roads through drink driving, he feels these figures are still too high but that in fact communication and education is the best way forward to achieving their goal of halving road deaths by 2020.