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Friday, March 09, 2012

Government confirms new breathalyzer law

The French government has announced officially that all cars must
carry a single-use breathalyzer kit from July 1st.*

The move, which has been widely reported for some time, was made official
in a decree on February 28th and published on Thursday.

"Every driver of a motorised land vehicle, excluding mopeds, must possess
an unused and immediately available breathlyzer, " said the decree,
published in the official gazette ("Journal Officiel de la République

Transport ministry officials told The Local that the rule would apply
equally to vehicles from outside France.

July and August are busy months on the French roads as millions of French
people and tourists head for their holiday destinations.

A fine of €11 ($15) will be charged to anyone not carrying the breathalyzer
kit, but police have been told to start fining only from November 1st.

The new law is the latest attempt to reduce France's road accident rate.

Around 4,000 people died on French roads in 2011, a very slight improvement
on the figure for the year before.

Drink driving is believed to be responsible for one in three road deaths.

The government hopes having a kit in the car will allow people to test
themselves and to give them the means to test others if they suspect they
are over the limit.

The legal blood alcohol limit in France is 0.5 grams per litre.

The single-use tests cost between €0.50 and €1.50 and manufacturers are
rushing to produce enough to meet expected demand.

President Nicolas Sarkozy promised the measure in November in the hope of
slashing drink driving, responsible for 31 percent of fatal road accidents.

Disposable breathalysers have been available in French bars and nightclubs
since then.

New coaches have been equipped with breathalyser tests that prevent drivers
starting the ignition since January 2010. The devices are to be installed
in all coaches by the start of the 2015 school year.

A total of 3,970 people died on French roads in 2011, down barely 0.5
percent or 22 lives compared to 2010.

When Sarkozy came to power in 2007 he set the government the ambitious
target of reducing annual road deaths to 3,000 by 2012.

The new breathalyzer requirement will be added to the existing rules
compelling drivers to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety
Failure to have these in the car can lead to a €90 fine.

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