Earlier this month the French president announced coming legislation that will require all drivers in France to carry a breathalyzer kit in their car.
The new legislation is planned to come into force spring 2012 and is a move by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy to cut the high numbers of serious accidents & deaths on French roads, many attributable to alcohol.
The idea behind the move is that it should mean that more drivers will think before they drive. Am I fit to drive?
The presence of the alcohol breath test kit in the car will make them more likely to test themselves, and then knowing that they are over the limit will reduce the numbers of drivers drink driving.
Evidence suggests that many drivers do not knowingly break the drink driving laws. They think that they are ok to drive. This new move should take the ambiguity out of the situation.
It is important to know that the French drink driving prosecution levels for normal drivers (0.05 BAC for all EU countries ) are lower than the UK’s (0.08 BAC) and this can catch British drivers out when they are travelling abroad. This means that a blood alcohol level that would be below the prosecution levels for the UK may well be above the prosecution level in France or the rest of the EU.
This new legislation is important for anyone travelling to France to be aware of. The French police will be given powers to stop drivers and drivers found to be without breathalyzer kit in their car will face fines. Of course, if you are found to be over the limit you will face prosecution.
It will be interesting to see if this new move reduces levels of drink driving. My gut feeling is that it will. If drivers breathalyse themselves and find that they are over the limit most will I think, wait, have a coffee and let their alcohol levels come down. Some may choose to leave the car and get a taxi, a bus or a lift. Most drivers will not wish to risk the terrible consequences of drink driving.
The French move raises some interesting questions;
- Are the current UK drink driving prosecution levels set too high?
- Should the UK drink driving prosecution levels to be brought down in line with the rest of the EU?
- Would similar legislation in the UK regarding drivers having personal breathalyzer kits in their gloves boxes help reduce drink driving levels in the UK and cut the number of serious accidents & deaths on the roads?
Let us know your thoughts in comments.
Click here for more info about breathalyzer kits including those suitable for use in France (look at the 0.05 BAC kits)