Holidaymakers (and non holidaymakers) traveling to France must bring along a breathalyzer kit as a new requirement for motorists. The breathalyzer kits are used to check alcohol intake through breathing and to ensure that the drivers are under drink-drive limits.
All drivers are required to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest at all times. Starting July, breathalyzer kits requirement will be implemented. Motorists are advised to carry at least two kits so they have spare to use to show police that they are carrying a kit. Police will use their own breathalysers for roadside tests. Penalty for failure to comply is 11 euros or £9, which will start at the end of the grace period on November..
Breathalyser kits cost around £1-2 and will be available at ferry and tunnel terminals for crossings to France. The French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – much lower than in the UK where the limit is 80mg. Motorists found with between 50mg and 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood can be fined 135 euros (£112) and lose six out of 12 points on their driving licence. Above that, a driver could be fined 4,500 euros (£3,744), lose their licence and be sent to prison for up to two years.
French police are expected to carry out random checks on drivers crossing into France via Calais to ensure that they understand the latest drink-driving rules.
Here is a list of reminders when driving in France:
- A warning triangle
- Fluorescent safety vest to use in an emergency
- Breathalyser kits
- If a motorist carries the luminous vest in their boot rather than the main section of the car they can still be fined.
- GB Plate for British motorists and they must have their headlights adjusted to the right.
- Replacement bulbs. Drivers are not obliged to carry a spare set of lights, but if one of their bulbs goes and they do not have a replacement ready they can be fined.
- A fire extinguisher and first aid kit could also be required in the case of an emergency so not to fall foul of a law about assisting in the event of an accident.
- Satellite navigation systems that does not show the location of speed cameras. Last month, the French introduced a new law banning satellite navigation systems that show the location of speed cameras. Those caught can be fined 1,500 euros even if the device is not in use.