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France repeals its legislation requiring every driver to carry a disposable breathalyser kit in the vehicle. The regulation was in force from 2013, but there was no penalty for failing to fulfil the obligation. 

In March 2013, the obligation for the driver to carry a disposable breathalyser in a vehicle entered into force in France. Initially, the lack of the kit was to be punished with a fine of €11. The then-president, François Hollande, even before the law came into force, had decided to cancel the fines. Ultimately, breathalysers became mandatory, but there were no consequences for their lack in the vehicle. 

Although the new rules were a reaction to a large number of alcohol-related road deaths in France, the law was controversial from the outset. The leader of a group of lobbyists who demanded the introduction of the obligation was actually a director in a company producing this type of breathalysers, reports thelocal.fr. The absence of a fine for failure to comply with the new regulation caused even greater suspicion that the law is not backed by a desire to improve safety.

In addition, the requirement for a breathalyser was ineffective in reducing drink-driving, which is believed to be responsible for about one-third of road deaths in France. Last week, MPs voted in favour of abolishing the obligation (364 votes in favour, 130 against). 

Don’t drink & drive

 Although the law imposing the obligation to carry breathalysers will change, drivers travelling through the English Channel should still remember that France has a much stricter alcohol limit than the UK – and anyone who exceeds that limit faces very severe penalties,” says Rod Dennis, spokesman for the Royal Automobile Club.

The alcohol consumption limit in France is lower than in the UK, at 0.5 mg/ml of alcohol per litre of blood, compared to 0.8 mg/ml in the UK.

Young drivers who have a driving licence for less than three years are subject to a lower threshold, namely 0.2 mg/ml per litre of blood.

If the driver’s breath test shows between 0.5 and 0.8 mg/ml of alcohol, he will be fined between €135 and €750 with six penalty points. 

The best advice is to never drink and drive, regardless of whether we are in France or elsewhere,” added Dennis in a statement for thelocal.fr.

The RAC spokesperson recommends, however, that drivers should carry breathalysers with them in France for a certain period of time.

Photo: Pixabay

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