From July 2012, anyone driving in France will be required to carry a breathalyser.
Yes, that’s right, a breathalyser – so you can check whether you are over the limit before you start driving.
Cheap & Cheerful Breathalysers
According to the IAM, single-use breathalysers will be sufficient to meet the rules – these will be on sale for a pound or two at Channel ferry ports.
That’s fine for complying with the letter of the rules and is probably the route that most people will take, but bear in mind that these cheap, disposable items are not very accurate. Don’t rely on one if you really think you might be over the limit.
Lower Limit In France
You should also remember that the French blood alcohol level is much lower than the UK limit – France complies with the EU recommendation of 50mg per 100ml of blood. In the UK, on the other hand, the limit is much higher, at 80mg/100ml, as for some unknown reason the UK government believes it is acceptable to drink quite a lot when driving.
Our government has refused to lower the drink-drive limit, despite expert recommendations and clear evidence that the risk of having an accident increases near-exponentially above 50mg. (Even 50mg is too high; at this level, the risk of having an accident is five times higher than for a driver who has had nothing to drink.)
The IAM says that the new rules come into effect on 1st July 2012 and from November 2012 there will be a fine of €11 for not carrying a breathalyser when driving in France.