To curb the number of road deaths due to drunk-driving, France has introduced a new law making it compulsory for drivers to carry a breathalyzer kit in their vehicles or risk an on-the-spot fine.
Apart from the breathalyzer, all motorists must also have a high-visibility safety vest and a warning triangle with them. International drivers are included in the new rule, however there is a grace period until November.
Some 4,000 people are killed on French roads every year, with drink-driving being the main factor in accidents ahead even of speeding. The French government hopes that drivers will test themselves with the breathalyzers if they suspect to be over the limit, and if necessary refrain from taking the wheel.
Under the rules, which exclude mopeds, drivers who fail to produce a breathalyzer after November 1, 2012 will be fined 11 euros.
The kits come in two types: expensive electronic ones which can be reused; and cheap chemical ones. Tens of millions of the kits are going to have to be supplied, but right now there is a shortage, which is one reason for the four-month grace period.
He adds that the new rule is proving a bonanza for manufacturers, of which there are only two in France.
To enforce the regulations, French police say they plan to carry out random checks on those entering the country through the Channel Tunnel, as well as drivers arriving on ferries.
The drink-driving limit in France is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – 30mg less than the UK limit.
Amazon UK has a listing of a certified breathalyzer for France for £4.99. Many companies and retailers have started offering these gadgets, but make sure to check the certifications and specific details before purchasing one.