Driving in France requirements change: breath-test law expected to be ditched

Driving in France requirements change: breath-test law expected to be ditched
UK drivers travelling across Europe will likely no longer have to carry a breathalyser in their vehicle when crossing the Channel.

French politicians have voted in favour of adopting a new transport and mobility bill which will remove the need for foreign motorists to carry breath-testing equipment when driving in France.

Reports suggest MPs were happy to see the requirement removed as it has proved ineffective at cutting the number of fatalities on French roads.

The controversial law was first introduced back in March 2013, with officials announcing that offending motorists would face an on-the-spot fine of €11.

However, before it was introduced, then-President Francois Hollande chose to scrap the fine but keep the requirement – causing confusion for motorists heading to France.

Until the law has changed, the RAC recommends taking a breathalyser to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of the local police – a breath-testing device is included in the RAC’s Driving in France kit.

Driving in France Kit from £24.99

Did you know you could be fined up to €530 for not carrying the right kit with you in France?

Driving in France Kit from £24.99
Driving in France Kit from £24.99

In response to the news, RAC Europe spokesperson Rod Dennis took the opportunity to remind drivers of the stricter drink-drive limits in France.

He said: “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.”

Mr Dennis also pointed out that while the law on breathalysers may be due to change, France still retains a stricter drink-drive limit than in the UK – and anyone caught over the limit faces tough penalties.

The current maximum drink-drive limit in France is 0.05% with bus, coach, and newly-qualified drivers with less than three years’ experience facing a stricter 0.02% limit.

This lower limit is the same as the limit in Scotland, although the breath alcohol limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is currently set at a more lenient 0.08%.

For more information on everything you need to know about driving on the other side of the Channel, read our guide to driving in France.

If you planning to drive to France in the next year, you may want to purchase European Breakdown Cover, to give yourself complete peace of mind during your trip. 

Copyright Press Association 2019. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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