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French breathalyser fines postponed
The French government has postponed the introduction of fines for drivers of all motor vehicles – including motorcycles – caught driving without a personal breathalyser kit in their vehicle until March 2013.
The law was introduced in July this year, with a grace period until November 2012, after which the penalties would be enforceable. However, the introduction of the fine has now been put off.
All drivers in France – expect riders of mopeds – are now required to carry a breathalyser kit. Not doing so leaves will leave you open to an €11 fine after March next year. Single-use breathalyser kits satisfy the requirements, as long as they meet French government standards.
It is important for British drivers to remember that the legal limit of alcohol in France is 50 milligrams per 100ml of blood, lower than the UK limit of 80 milligrams per 100ml of blood.
The introduction of the law intended that motorists would be able to test themselves to check whether or not they are over the French legal limit. However, the legislation has come in for criticism.
It is argued by many road safety organisations that those inclined to drive drunk will do so regardless of the outcome of a self test, with conscientious motorists not needing to test themselves, having opted not to use their car after a drink.
However, the self-testing kits have been praised for their use the morning after a night out, in order to assess your ability to drive.
The human body processes alcohol at different rates depending on size and gender, as well as other contributing factors. These single-use breath kits can be used as a guide to assess your body’s alcohol levels following consumption of alcohol the night before.
Director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Neil Greig:
“The new French rule is a genuine attempt to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents. France’s lower limit means it’s very easy to be over the limit the morning after as well.
“As always, the best advice for road users is not to drink and drive at all.”
The self breathalyser kit is the latest addition to a long list of legal requirements a driver should carry in France, including a reflective warning triangle, a spare bulb kit and a high visibility safety vest (one per vehicle occupant, stored inside the passenger compartment).
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