France to Require All Drivers to Carry Breathalyzers
July 2, 2012 8:48 AM
Fines for not carrying a breathalyzer in France to begin in November
It's hard to think of France without thinking about wine. As part of a French plan to curb drunk driving within the country, France has become the first country to require all drivers to carry handheld
in all vehicles. The law extends to tourists as well. The law went into effect on July 1 and was approved in March of 2011.
The requirement is an attempt to get drivers to
check their alcohol level
before starting their vehicles.
that France had about 4000 road deaths in 2011, down from 16,000 annually in the early 1970s. Nearly 30% of road deaths within France are alcohol-related working out to about 1150 deaths per year.
The French law allows for small fines for not carrying handheld breathalyzer in your vehicle of €11, or about $14 and will go into effect in November. Along with the new requirement for breathalyzers in vehicles, France has also become stricter on drunken driving laws and imposed tougher penalties over the last several years. French law also requires drivers to carry a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and spare light bulbs for headlamps.
Safety advocates in the US are said to be watching France closely hinting at the possibility of trying to get something similar passed in the United States. Last week the
American Beverage Institute
, which represents more than 8000 restaurants, opposed a measure that would expand research on alcohol ignition interlock's. These are the sort of interlocks some convicted drunk drivers have to use that prevent them from starting a vehicle if they have been drinking.
Sacré bleu! French drivers must now carry a breathalyzer before hitting the road.
[Image Source: Fixie Fridays]
The House and Senate in the United States approved a highway bill last week funding the
Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety
program. This federal program would work to create alcohol detection systems for installation as standard equipment on all cars. The bill sets aside $5 million in additional funding over the next two years for the research program. The highway bill also sets aside $20 million in grants from the Department of Transportation as incentives to states to pass laws requiring ignition interlocks as punishment for first-time drunk drivers.
"The House and Senate should amend the interlock provisions of the highway bill to apply only to the high-BAC and repeat drunk drivers who cause the vast majority of alcohol-impaired fatalities," said Sarah Longwell, ABI's managing director.
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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