If you are planning on taking a trip to our wine-loving, frog-eating neighbours and are intending to drive, then make sure to pack a breathalyser kit along with the rest of your luggage. From 1 July, a new law came into action requiring that all drivers in France (with the exception of mopeds) have a breathalyser kit with them or risk an on-the-spot fine of €11 (£8.86).
The new regulations will not apply to foreign motorists until 1 November, but French police are already warning that they will be carrying out random checks on drivers crossing into France via the Channel Tunnel and on ferries. The French government hopes that the law will encourage those who suspect they are over the limit to test themselves: saving an estimated 500 lives a year on the road.
…27% of deaths on French roads were attributed to alcohol…
The scheme has sparked controversy with some saying the law will make no difference given that many drink drivers are already aware they are driving drunk and choose to take the risks anyway. In spite of the contention in France about this new law, perhaps the British government should sit up, take note and consider a similar scheme for its own citizens.
While France has a dramatically higher number of alcohol-related road deaths than us according to a 2008 report by the World Health Organisation, 27% of deaths on French roads were attributed to alcohol, with the statistic for the UK being 17% – it is still a big problem in this country. In a report by the Department for Transport released in September last year, in 2010, five per cent of all road casualties occurred when someone was over the drink-driving limit.
…drinkers who suspect that they are over the limit would be able to confirm it…
It seems that young drivers are the worst when it comes to ignoring the drink-driving rules. Last year a report by motoring organisation, the RAC, revealed that 23 per cent of drivers under the age of 25 had driven when they suspected they were over the limit, while the figure for all other drivers was just 16 per cent.
Perhaps if the government were to put in place a law like the new one in France then drinkers who suspect that they are over the limit would be able to confirm it and for young people drinking and driving may just drop. Of course it’s not sure thing, but surely it is at least worth looking into.