Driving In France

Breathalyser Conflict of Interest Scandal The head of the road safety group that persuaded the French Gov to introduce these new Breathalyser laws actually works for the firm that makes them!

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Breathalyser Conflict of Interest Scandal

June 28, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Corruption Allegations 


People against the new French driving law suggest corruption and say it’s just about making money.

Daniel Orgeval, the head of the newly formed “road safety” group called “I-Test”, is the man who managed to persuade Nicolas Sarkozy to introduce the new breathalyser rule for France on the grounds of “road safety”.

Normally it takes years for these pressure groups to push the government on this type of issue and usually they never succeed, so you have to admire them. This group though is not as you might expect a group of families who have lost loved ones due to drink drivers; it was in fact something entirely different.

So who is Daniel Orgeval the head of this pressure group? Well apart from being head of this newly formed road safety group he is in fact a top Director of a company called “Contralco”, who are based in Gignac (Hérault).

Guess what Contralco make?

Yep, you guessed it, they make disposable Breathalyser Kits. Does the phrase “conflict of interest” mean nothing to these people? Contralco are one of only two companies that are approved to make the French NF approved blow in the bag disposable kits. You cannot take a UK made one as even though it is probably of better quality it is not legal. You have to have an NF approved one. (We do sell the NF approved ones here).

Until very recently they were in huge financial difficulty and heading towards bankruptcy but not anymore. They have just taken on over 100 new staff and are churning out 5 million breathalyser kits a month! It is believed that Contralco has about 75% of the market for these disposable kits in France.

Imagine owning a company that suddenly found itself as one of only two approved suppliers for an item that became law for everyone to carry. BOOM it must be like winning the lottery, though not just once they are winning it week after week.

So now you have to have 2 of these breathalysers in the car, as you must have one to show the police if stopped and another one which you can actually use if you want to test yourself. The fine is 11 Euros and adds to the list of things you can already get on the spot fines in France for.


Roadside Fines Enforceable in France:

90 Euros for not having a Hi Viz Vest

90 Euros for no Warning Triangle

90 Euros for not having Headlamp Converters fitted

45 Euros for no Spare Bulbs

45 Euros for no GB sticker

11 Euros for no Breathalyser Kit


Total €371 Euros (that makes our "Full Euro Travel Kit" look good value)


To be honest we at DrivinginFrance.org have always thought the breathalyser kits to be a ridiculous waste of time, money and effort, we all know when we have had a drink and idiots who drink and drive aren't suddenly going to stop doing it because he/she has one of these kits in the glove box.

So apart from the 46 million drivers who live in France all tourists driving through France have to carry them as well.

Some critics in France say the test kits do not give accurate readings and are worthless.

Drivers without a breathalyser kit in their car will be liable for an €11 on-the-spot fine, though the French police have agreed a period of grace to allow Contralco to meet the demand for these until November.

As always we expect that French police will be lying in wait to crack down on the major roads going into and out of the main French ports.

Tags: French News Driving Laws In France
Category: Legal Requirements

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