Drivers no longer required to carry breathalysers in France


Motorists driving in France used to have to carry two breathalysers, but this law is in the process of being repealed

Drivers will no longer be required to keep breathalysers in their car when they visit France, once a French law change is completed.

Motorists driving in France currently to have to keep two NF-approved (French standard) breathalysers in their car at all times, but this law is now in the process of being abolished by the French Parliament.

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France’s breathalyser rules have long been dogged by complication. Originally, breaking this law resulted in an €11 (approximately £9.75) fine, but penalties were quickly scrapped as drivers had difficulty obtaining approved breathalysers. In recognition of this, drivers caught by police without a breathalyser would be simply given a document reminding them of the law.

France has much stricter alcohol laws than most of the UK. The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg of alcohol per litre of blood. Scotland and France, meanwhile, have a limit of 50mg, but France reduces this to 20mg for drivers who have had their licences for under three years.

The French Parliament initially voted to repeal the law in September 2019, and now the move is going ahead. At the time, RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Drivers heading across the Channel should still remember that the country has a much stricter drink-drive limit than in the UK – and anyone caught over the limit faces some very tough penalties.

“The best advice is to never drink and drive, whether driving in France or elsewhere. For any driver that still chooses to, it still makes a lot of sense to carry a portable breathalyser to check they are well below the relevant legal limit.”

Hunter Abbott, managing director of breathalyser company AlcoSense, added: “With the French limit significantly lower than the English limit and the penalties harsher, it will remain advisable to carry a breathalyser to test yourself while driving in France and avoid unintentionally drink-driving.”

Click here for our top tips on driving in France…