From July 2012 if you drive in France, it will be compulsory to carry a ‘Breathalyser Kit’ in your car and failure to do so will earn you an on the spot fine.
We all know that motoring laws are different abroad and that we have to carry a warning triangle, a fluorescent safety vest and a bulb set and I suppose there is possibly some logic behind this, but a single use breathalyser kit is passing me my a bit as I cant understand why, so have investigated this further.
Clearly the law is aimed at French motorists and indeed, it’s not going to be law in other European countries at the moment, however there are around 3,000 deaths on French roads every year and the idea of the law is to encourage the driver to ensure they are not over the legal limit and in doing, be sure they are safe to drive.
Now this is an odd mix of irresponsibility and responsibility here, because lets face it, we all know we shouldn’t drink and drive and most of us don’t. Similarly, we all know what the limit is and if we have exceeded that and shouldn’t drive, but some people are prepared to take that risk and to think that just confirming you’ve had too much to drink, when you already know that’s the case, is going to prevent these people still going on to drive, is wildly ambitious.
So who’s this for? The persistent heavy drink driver will ignore it and his kit will remain untouched in the boot of his car. The driver that knows he’s had a few too many, but always takes the risk, will continue to do so and the driver that has had a single drink will know he’s under the limit and feel there is no need to use up his ‘single use’ breathalyzer kit to confirm that.
So I guess we are looking to the pillar of society who is anxious that they don’t unknowingly drive over the limit, break the law and risk losing there license, but then the answer is simple, you don’t need the breathalyzer kit, you simply don’t drink, problem sorted.
So for me, this is a really strange law and as these breathalyzer kits are ‘single use’ and cost (I am told) from around £1 to £10 and on that basis, I can’t see them doing anything else than languish in the boot along with the other mandatory nonsense that Europe says we must carry.
Another point here is that logically, if you’ve used your breathalyser kit the night before, you would now be driving without one and as such, you would be driving illegally! So does this mean you have to carry 2 breathalyser kits, so that when you’ve used up your first one, you still have a fresh unused kit that keeps you legal?
Surely this is a totally pointless piece of legislation that’s completely flawed in practice, with the only up side being that the ferry companies (most of which are French owned) will have something else they can make money out of to flog us Brit’s and of course, should we forget, the Gendarme will issue an on the spot fine and happily march us to a cash machine or seize our cars, to make sure we don’t forget next time.
Still, France is a wonderful country and I guess if it means we have to spend an extra tenner to enjoy all she has to offer, it’s still probably worth it.