“Tout automobiliste est tenu de posséder un éthylotest à bord de son véhicule. Tout en maintenant (carrying out) cette obligation, le décret supprime la sanction qui devait s’appliquer, à compter du 1er mars 2013 en cas de défaut de possession de léthylotest”

The introduction of compulsory car breathalysers has now been postponed ‘indefinitely’ whilst Interior Minister Manuel Valls awaits a report from the CNSR (Conseil National de la Sécurité Routière) on the best measures to cut down on drink-driving.The breath tests have been much criticized for their lack of availability and reliability, and the fact that they were introduced by a last stand president (Sarkozy) desperate to show that he was doing something….anything towards the cutting alcohol related death on the roads.
As the shortage of breathalyser kits throughout France continues to make a mockery of the new law, the government have extended the legal carrying date to March 1st 2013. Fines will therefore not be enforced before that date.


éthylotest or alcootestFrom July 1st, drivers in France (cars, motor bikes over 50cc, vans…..) must carry a breathalyser kit (éthylotest or alcootest) in their car to enable them to check their alcohol levels, or face an on-the-spot  fine of 11 euros. There will be a period of grace until November before French police start issuing the penalties.

These ‘use and discard’  kits are relatively cheap (1 – 2 euros) and will be available in chemists, supermarkets, on-line, at ferry and tunnel terminals etc, but do remember that if you do decide to check your alcohol level before returning home from an evening out  you will need another breath test kit to produce for the  gendarmes if you are stopped! The BAC (blood alcohol content) drink driving limit in France is 0.5 grams compared to 0.8 grams in Britain

Research has shown that alcohol is the biggest cause of road deaths in France.
According to the national road safety site

25 cl de bière à 5° (un demi), 12,5 cl de vin de 10° à 12° (un ballon), 3 cl d’alcool distillé à 40° (whisky, anisette, gin) contiennent à peu près 10 grammes d’alcool pur. Ces contenances correspondent aux doses normalisées, servies dans les cafés.

Chez soi, on a tendance à augmenter parfois considérablement les quantités servies…
Chaque ” verre ” fait monter le taux d’alcoolémie de 0,20 g à 0,25 g en moyenne.

Ces chiffres peuvent être très sensiblement augmentés chez certains sujets : pour les plus minces, les femmes ou les personnes âgées, chaque verre peut représenter un taux d’alcoolémie de 0,30 g.

Penalties can be very severe for drink driving offenses. Between 0.5 and 0.8 grams you risk a fine of 135 Euros and six points on your license but if your blood alcohol exceeds 0.8 grams, you can receive up to two years in prison and 4500 euro fine.

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