Drivers visiting France will need to carry a breathalyser in their cars from 1st July, the rules apply to anyone travelling to or through France by car in the summer holiday season even just for a day trip. Drivers who are caught without a breathalyser face a fine of £9 but there will be a period of grace until November.
The law is being introduced to encourage drinkers to breathalyse themselves before driving. The French drink drive limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood which equates to a glass of wine or a large beer.
Two breathalyser kits have been approved by the French government a cheap blow in the bag tester costing £3 and a digital version which costs approximately £100. Chris Deith of AlcoDigital one of the distributors of the French government approved breathalysers has stated that the technology is outdated. He said “blow in the bag breathalysers were first approved in the UK for police use in 1969 and they are not sufficiently accurate to determine whether you are under or over the limit on the night you do the drinking. The only thing they are useful for is determining whether you have alcohol in your system at all.”
Drivers found with between 50 and 80mg of alcohol in 100mg of blood when in France will be fined £108 and could gain six penalty points on their licence, if registering over 80mg a driver could be fined £3626, lose their licence and be sent to prison for up to two years.