The breathalyser is now part of the mandatory driving kit for France

(Level 2)
17 Oct 2013 13:05, updated
27 Jun 2012, published

Most tourists that drive abroad on holiday will know that all countries differ in what they expect you to carry as part of your holiday driving kit. Well France has decided to add one more item to their growing kit list - a breathalyser.

Currently to drive on French roads you need to have:

  • A luminous safety jacket
  • A warning triangle
  • Headlamp converters for driving on the right
  • A GB sticker or number plate with an EU logo

Unfortunately though, the French drink diving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, equivalent to a large beer or glass of wine while in the UK, the limit is 80mg. However for drivers there are two approved tests; one that costs £3 and one that is more than £100. The cheap three pound test is a blow in the bag test and the more expensive is a digital test.

If a driver is caught without a breathalyser, they face a fine of £9 and the new law comes into force in November 2012. The total cost of the mandatory kit now comes in at a total cost of £40. The mandatory road kit is for everyone, tourists and residents alike. If you are caught above the alcohol limit you will be fined £108 if it is between 50mg – 80mg and you'll incur six penalty points. If you are over 80mg then you risk a £3,626 fine, lose your licence and a prison sentence of up to two years.

The point of carrying a breathalyser is so you can test yourself before getting behind the wheel of the car. So you could potentially be saving yourself a fine, penalty points and a prison sentence. You can also get a £108 fine for not carrying the jacket, warning triangle, headlamp converters and the GB sticker.

Also since January 2012, satnavs with the ability to detect speeding cameras were banned in France. If caught using one you could be fined £1,208 even if it was not being used!

Although all countries have their own specific requirements, here are some from other countries:

  • Two triangles
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Yellow chalk
  • Accident forms
  • Replacement bulbs
  • Winter tyres

I welcome this move as many people forget how much they have drank or feel like they are okay to drive when they are not, now they will know for sure if it’s safe to drive or whether someone else should take over.

Comments (1)
gices  (Level 5)
02 Jul 2012 11:55

Maybe those who like to be on the safe side will buy the breathalyser kit but many will simply chance it and others may just forget. I suppose there would be signs at Dover in UK or Calais in France to remind you what's necessary for driving in France, otherwise people who are not up to date with the news will not know what is expected of them.

I'm not sure how many checks will be carried out on the roads but a fine of £9, which will probably be on the spot, is not a lot of money but it's better to comply with the laws of the foreign country and stay out of trouble as well as save your money.