Driving through France Pack a breathalyser or risk a fine from the latest trap for unwary British drivers
Fine for drivers who fail to carry the 2 kitRules in France already force drivers to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vestDrivers warned to check rules or face fines as much more is needed than in UK
Motorists caught without a breathalyser kit when driving through France from July will risk an €11 (9) fine as new laws come into force.
breathalyser kits, which cost between around 1 and 2, will be available at
ferry and tunnel terminals for crossings to France, but motoring groups
have warned that many drivers will still forget to pack them in their
The gadgets, designed so that drivers
can test themselves to ensure they are under drink-drive limits, are the
latest addition to a list of rules for driving on the other side of the
Another essential: Motorists travelling to France after July must carry a breathalyser kit in the car, along with other items
Rules in France already mean that British drivers have been penalised in the past
for not carrying a warning triangle or a fluorescent safety vest.
Critics of the move have cast doubts on the accuracy of the kits in being able to tell if a driver is over the limit. Others said it was simply another attempt to make money out of foreign drivers.
Motorists found with between 50mg and
80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood can be fined €135 (112) and lose
six out of 12 points on their driving licence. Above that, a driver
risks a fine of €4,500 (3,744), losing their licence and being
sent to prison for up to two years.
The French drink-driving limit of 50mg is much lower than in the UK where the limit is 80mg.
Motorists are being urged to carry at
least two of the single-use breathalysers so that if they have checked
themselves with one they can still show police they have a ready-to-use
kit if stopped.
Police, however, will use their own breathalysers to carry out any roadside test.
The French have said there will be
a period of grace until November before police start issuing the
Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety, explained that it takes time for alcohol to be absorbed into the blood, so early readings could be misleading.
He said: 'After you have had your last swig of alcohol, your reading will continue to rise for the next 40
minutes because it takes time for alcohol to go down into your stomach
and be taken into the bloodstream.’
added: 'Driving requirements in France are now quite complicated and
the list of things you need to take is beginning to be quite a
substantial extra charge to a holiday.'
Peat of the Association of British Drivers said: ‘Some people will take
the chance and not buy them, but many will simply not know about this
latest requirement or just forget.
whole idea of self-testing sounds like nonsense. It seems like another
money spinner for the very profitable road safety industry.'
are expected to carry out random checks on drivers crossing into France
via Calais to ensure that they understand the latest drink-driving
Anyone driving in France is already required to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest to use in an emergency.
Additionally British motorists must display a GB plate and have their headlights adjusted to the right.
But even if drivers have the full list of equipment they can still be caught out by the complexity of the rules.
If a motorist carries the luminous vest in their boot rather than the main section of the car they can still be fined.
are not obliged to carry a spare set of lights, but if one of their
bulbs goes and they do not have a replacement ready they can be fined.
fire extinguisher and first aid kit could also be required in the case
of an emergency so not to fall foul of a law about assisting in the
event of an accident.
Last month, the French introduced a new law banning satellite navigation systems that show the location of speed cameras.
Those caught can be fined 1,500 euros even if the device is not in use.
- Pay-as-you-drive insurance policy could penalise families in rural areas
- Motoring spot fines hiked 66% to 100 to help pay for victims of crime
- Driving licence trap: 1.6m drivers risk hefty fine for not renewing photograph at 20 cost
- RBS cuts 3,500 investment banking jobs in drive to reduce risk to taxpayers
- Anglo-French tensions mount as Banque de France boss calls for UK credit downgrade