Hold your breath: French postpone mandatory breathalysers until 2013

French authorities have been forced to postpone the introduction of a new law aimed at reducing the number of drunk drivers.

Laws that would make it mandatory for motorists to carry breathalysers were originally due to come into force in November, but a lack of availability of the devices has seen the law be postponed by almost six months, Autoblog can reveal.

Currently, almost 28 per cent of all road accidents in France are alcohol-related. But since the law was approved in June, manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand, with some areas in France yet to receive breathalysers.

Anyone without a breathalyser in their vehicle would be fined 11 euros, but without the devices being readily available, it has been impossible for the authorities to implement the law before Christmas.

Hunter Abbott of AlcoSense, a British manufacturer of breathalysers, told Autoblog: "All the manufacturers and distributors, including ourselves, are yet to catch up with the increased demand.

'Some areas in France are yet to have breathalysers readily available and postponing the law will allow them to catch up and enable the public to comply with the new law."

France's alcohol-blood limit is already lower than that of the UK, at just 50mg/100ml of blood, against the UK's 80mg/100ml limit.

Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists told Autoblog: "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."