France to scrap law stipulating drivers carry alcohol breathalysers in the car

The French government is set to scrap a law requiring drivers to carry alcohol level-detecting breathalysers in their cars at all times.

It’s part of a new transport bill and revises a rule which has required UK drivers crossing the Channel in their vehicles to legally carry a breathalyser with them.

The rule, which was first introduced in 2013, initially meant that any motorist caught by police without a breathalyser in the car with them would face an on-the-spot fine of €11 (around £9.75).

However, former president François Hollande decided to remove these fines before the law was even introduced in March 2013.

Despite the fine being removed, the law was retained – making things confusing for motorists travelling to France.

However, it is now being abolished thanks to a new ‘Le projet de loi d’orientation des mobilités’ transport bill. It’s believed that the introduction of the breathalyser requirement has proved ineffective at reducing drink driving, which is thought to be the cause of around one- third of road deaths in France.

Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense Laboratories and member of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) comments: “It is still a legal requirement to carry an NF approved breathalyser in the vehicle while driving in France and that will be the case for a while yet.

“With the French limit significantly lower than the English limit and the penalties harsher, it will remain advisable to carry a breathalyser to test yourself while driving in France and avoid unintentionally drink driving.”

In addition, RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “While the law governing drivers carrying breathalysers in France might be about to change, drivers heading across the Channel should still remember that the country has a much stricter drink-drive limit than in the UK – and anyone caught over the limit faces some very tough penalties.

“The best advice is to never drink and drive, whether driving in France or elsewhere. For any driver that still chooses to, it still makes a lot of sense to carry a portable breathalyser to check they are well below the relevant legal limit.”

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