Driving through France requires motorists to carry breathalyzer kits, warning triangle, fluorescent safety vest, and more

While vacationing drivers going through France have been fined for not stocking a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest in their vehicle, the French police are now adding to the list of things to be carried, and have called for a breathalyser kit in cars.

The breathalyser kit is to ensure that drivers self test so they can determine if they’re in drink-drive limits. The new rule applies to anyone travelling through France by a car after July this year.

The move has been critiqued in regards to accuracy of breathalyser kits while others are slamming the move as a new channel to milk foreign drivers. Drivers with 50mg and 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood may need to pay 135 euros (£112) as fine, and lose 6 of their 12 points on the driving licence. Higher alcohol levels warrant a fine of 4,500 euros (£3,744), loss of licence and imprisonment up to 2 years. Drunk driving limit in France stands at 50mg, which is lower than the UK limit of 80mg.

Drivers are being told to carry at least 2 single-use breathalyzer kits. It would in fact be necessary because motorists would have used one, and would have a spare ready-to-use kit as is required at all times. Despite the precaution, police would use their breathalysers for roadside tests. If a vacationing driver is found without a kit, it entails a fine of 11 euros (£9). Keeping in mind grace period, penalties would need to be paid November onward.

Two glaring flaws that stare one in the face is the fact that even while motorists may buy them from tunnel and ferry and tunnel terminals, drivers would still forget to pack them in their vehicle, and early readings wouldn’t be correct.

AA’s head of road safety Andrew Howard had this to say. ‘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.’ ‘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.’

Keith Peat from Association of British Drivers had this to say. ‘Some people will take the chance and not buy them, but many will simply not know about this latest requirement or just forget.’ ‘The whole idea of self-testing sounds like nonsense. It seems like another money spinner for the very profitable road safety industry.’

This apart, those driving in France currently need to carry a warning triangle and fluorescent safety vest for any roadside emergency. The need for a fire extinguisher and first aid kit can’t be ruled out in keeping in terms with laws pertaining to assisting in an accident. The French have also worked out a law wherein satellite navigation systems that ‘show location of speed cameras’ are banned, and entails a fine of 1,500 euros even if the satnav isn’t being used.

British motorists need to use a GB plate and car headlights must be adjusted to the right. Just adhering to rules isn’t enough though. A driver can be fined if the luminous vest is stocked in their boot instead of at arms distance. While drivers aren’t required to carry spare lights but if a bulb goes kaput and a replacement isn’t handy, it entails a fine.