Mixed reaction from expats over French breathalyser law

Published:  7 Jul at 9 AM
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Tagged: France
A new law which requires anyone driving a car in France to carry a breathalyser has divided the opinions of British expats living in the country. The new legislation came into force last weekend and anyone found behind the wheel without a breathalyser kit is liable to an on-the-spot fine of €11. However, the French government has introduced a grace period until November.

An estimated 200,000 British expats have made France their home and the majority seem to be in favour of the new rule. The French authorities are hoping that encouraging people to test themselves after they have been drinking alcohol will reduce annual road deaths by around 500.

Most Brits agree that anything which helps to cut down drink driving is a good thing. However there have been some suspicions over why the new rules have been introduced. Critics have pointed out that Daniel Orgeveal, leader of the road safety group which has been pushing hard for a change in the regulations, is also an employee of Contralco, the manufacturer of breathalysers which stands to do very well financially out of the new rules.

Other Brits think that the rules will prevent people from driving to bars and restaurants at night which means they will choose to go out locally as taxis are often expensive and hard to find.

There are some concerns from safety groups over the reliability of the breathalysers. One group pointed out that a person’s alcohol levels can continue to rise for nearly an hour after they finish their last drink.

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