Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

"Here's my alcootest", officer

It's been pretty well covered in the UK news, on TV, radio and the press (even my father phoned me up to warn me), but just in case, you may have missed that one of President Sarkozy's parting acts was introduction of a new breathalyser law that came into effect on Sunday last - 1st July 2012.

Craig over on This French Life has a link to the official French decree and warns of the incoming requirement, which is that by law you must carry an unused single use breathalyser in your car at all times and be able to produce it on demand.

Because the requirement is for the breathalyser to be unused, the general advice is that you should carry two breathalysers with you, in order to be sure that one hasn't been used.

You can of course pickup a breathalyser on the ferry on the way out to France (I think they were circa £6 each), or you could buy one on ebay UK (for about £4), or when I first looked they were on sale on ebay France for about £3 - but repeating the search today I couldn't find any at this price - just search for ethylotest or alcootest.

Alternatively you could wait until you get over to France and pick one up in a supermarket. You will probably pay around €1 to €1.50 each.

The French Police have advised that up to the 1st of November they will not be enforcing the new law and will just reminding motorists of the new obligation, but it does make sense to buy one (or two) soon to protect yourself from the Gendarmes.

Finally a reminder that this law and all other details of what you need to carry in your car whilst driving in France as well as helpful hints and tips for motoring in France is on the updated Driving in France page of our website.

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