Driving in France – Breathalyzers in cars and motorcycles
It is no longer a requirement to carry a breathalyzer kit in France, though some reports of over zealous French trafiic police still fining English drivers on holiday have been heard. So if stopped argue the toss!
From the 1st of July 2012 it is law in France to carry a breathalyzer kit in your vehicle. Any motorised vehicle with two or more wheels with an engine capacity over 50cc is required to carry either an electronic or chemical breathalyzer kit.
The breathalyzer is required to be marked with manufacturer details and that it conforms to French norms – NF. The breathalyzer must also be within its expiry date.
The fine for not carrying a breathalyser in your vehicle will be 11 Euros but the fines will not be enforced until the 1st of November 2012. Many of the super markets in France have been selling breathalyzer kits, but have not been able to keep up with demand.
The Legal Alcohol limit when driving in France
There are two alcohol limits in France, 0.5 grams per litre of blood and 0.8 grams per litre of blood.
0.5 Grams per litre alcohol driving limit in France
Fine and six point on the license (in France they add points until you get to 12 then you lose your driving license). The 0.5 grams per litre equates to 0.25 milligrams of alcohol content in a sample of exhaled air.
0.8 Grams per litre alcohol driving limit in France
If you are at 0.8 grams or over your license can be detained for 72 hours, your vehicle is immobilised, unless a passenger is available to drive your vehicle. A passenger (even if not over the alcohol limit) that is in the front of the vehicle that is accompanying a drunk driver can also suffer the same sanctions as the driver as they are held equally accountable (passengers with a driving license should take their shoes off so that they are not deemed equipped to drive). The driver can have their license suspended for up to 3 years, a prison sentence of up to 2 years and a fine of up to 4500 Euros. In some cases drivers can be allowed to drive during this period, but only for professional reasons. In some cases the license will be cancelled and the driver will be required to take a new driving test. Sometimes the driver can be banned from driving certain classifications of vehicles for up to 5 years.
Obviously drinking and driving has an increased risk of accidents, so please avoid drinking and driving, stay within the legal limits and be safe when driving in France.