Driving in France? Gotta Carry a Breathalyzer

New law will save lives, government hopes

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 3, 2012 10:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – France is serious about cutting down on drunk driving: A new law requires all drivers in the country to carry a breathalyzer in their vehicles or be fined. Car accidents kill 4,000 people there each year, and drunk driving is the main cause of those accidents, the BBC reports. The government hopes the move will save 500 lives annually by encouraging those who feel boozy to test themselves before deciding to get behind the wheel.

But the fine for ignoring the law isn't huge, at just under $14. But it will apply to all drivers in the country, including foreigners, after November 1; random checks will be put in place to enforce it. It doesn't go into effect until then because there is a shortage of breathalyzer kits—tens of millions will be needed, a huge boon to manufacturers. In fact, some opponents of the law claim it was only passed because the industry lobbied for it.

An employee of the Pelimex company checks a breathalyser (Ethylotest) in Ingwiller, eastern France, on June 26, 2012.
An employee of the Pelimex company checks a breathalyser (Ethylotest) in Ingwiller, eastern France, on June 26, 2012.   (Getty Images)
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