Driving In France

Fines For Not Carrying Breathalysers Scrapped Another French government U-turn on breathalysers.

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Fines For Not Carrying Breathalysers Scrapped

March 04, 2013 at 5:03 PM


I can’t begin to describe how annoyed I am at this latest U-turn by the French government. In fact describing it as a U-turn doesn’t even begin to do it justice. The legislation on carrying breathalysers while driving through France has been more like continually going round and round a roundabout rather than the occasional U-turn.


A brief history on the legislation merry go round.


The law was originally introduced by the Sarkozy government under intense lobbying pressure from a road safety group called I-Test. The president of I-Test turned out to be a director of the company that manufactuerd the breathalysers you were required to carry!

Typical French farce follwed as the law faced delay after delay with the date for the fines to come into force being put further and further back as supply and demand issues meant that there are millions of French people, yet alone UK tourists, unable to actually buy a breathalyser kit at any price. 

Following the French general election newly elected President Hollandes government questions the value of carrying the alcohol testing kits in vehicles.

The government announce on Feb  13th 2013 that it still “recommends carrying a breath test in vehicles” but in a decree published on Friday 1st March 2013 the government annulled the sanction of the €11 fine.


In Summary

You are still obliged to carry a breathalyser kit but you will not get fined for not doing so. (bonkers but true)

The big worry for me is that people may think they don’t need to carry all the other safety items they have to by law such as Hi Viz vests, Warning Triangles, Spare Bulbs and Headlamp Converters etc.

I stress there are still up to €90 fines for not having each of these items.

The road safety authorities in France urged the government to press ahead with plans to make breathalysers compulsory in vehicles - but they agreed that a fine is not needed. Personally I disagree entirely with this, why have a law where there is absolutely no punishment for breaking it?

I'm sure this French driving farce will run and run.

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Tags: Breathalysers Breathalyzers
Category: Breathalysers

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