French breathalyser fines postponed

There’s a plethora of laws we Brits have to deal with when driving in France and a whole host of legally required kit to go with it - Top 10 tips for driving through France.

But now it seems fines for not carrying a personal breathalyser kit (blog post - Half of motorists risk fines in France), originally scheduled to be introduced from the 1 November this year, won’t be part of that. For a short time, at least…

The French government has decided to postpone the introduction of the €9 penalty for failing to have an alcohol detection device in your car until March 2013. This gives drivers all over Europe some breathing space – literally – before they have to adhere to the law.

The initial announcement of the new legislation outlined a grace period between July and November this year. However, this has now been extended by four months.

It’s still a sensible idea to pack one if you’re heading abroad via the Channel though.

The kits are a handy aid to check your ability the morning after you’ve had a drink. It’s not a definitive answer, but it could give you the all clear, or create enough doubt to stop you getting behind the wheel.

According to Director of Policy and Research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Neil Greig, “the new French rule is a genuine attempt to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents. France’s lower limit means it’s very easy to be over the limit the morning after as well.
“As always however, the best advice for road users is not to drink and drive at all.”

It won’t take you quite as much as you think to tip you over the legal limit abroad either. The French limit is just 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 30mg less than in the UK (blog post - Is our drink drive limit too high).

That large glass of wine you were thinking about at dinner? You might get away with it at home, but in France it could be enough to secure a driving conviction, up to two years in prison and a heavy €4,500 fine. It doesn’t seem quite so appealing now, does it?

And now you know the French police will be enforcing the new rules, you’ve got no excuse to pick one up as part of your top things to pack when going on holiday in the car - Top 10 things to pack for driving abroad.