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French breathalyzer law to hit German drivers

The Local · 1 Jul 2012, 15:33

Published: 01 Jul 2012 15:33 GMT+02:00

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Even relatively sober German motorists venturing into France this summer will have to carry a chemical breathalyzer kit - a small plastic bag with a tube to blow into - in addition to the compulsory warning triangle, high visibility vest and first aid kit, wrote Der Spiegel magazine on Sunday.

The one-use kit costs around €1.50 and is on sale in pharmacies, supermarkets and petrol stations. More expensive multi-use kits start at around €100.

Only kits bearing the letters "NF" for "French norm" are recognized by the French police, wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday. An initial grace period lasts until the end of October, after which police will begin issuing fines of €11 to drivers caught without a kit.

The French government is hoping that the requirement will encourage French motorists to test themselves before driving if they have consumed any alcohol - and that using the kit will become as normal as reaching for a condom before sex, wrote the paper.

"The test in the glove compartment constantly reminds of the risks of alcohol and helps raise awareness with drivers," the head of the French L'Automobile motoring club Didier Bollecker told the paper.

Alcohol is responsible for almost a third of fatal car accidents on French roads, according to Der Spiegel, compared with one in five British and just one in ten German accidents.

A spokeswoman for ADAC told the Süddeutsche Zeitung there was "no need" for a similar requirement in Germany because German motorists were able "to decide by themselves whether they were able to drive."

Story continues below…

France has the same legal alcohol limit for motorists as Germany - 0.5 mg of alcohol per millilitre of blood. Drivers found exceeding this limit up to 0.8 mg/ml can be fined up to €750, while higher blood alcohol levels can lead to fines of up to €4500 and a suspended sentence, according to the paper.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:48 July 1, 2012 by The-ex-pat
A spokeswoman for ADAC told the Süddeutsche Zeitung there was "no need" for a similar requirement in Germany because German motorists were able "to decide by themselves whether they were able to drive."

Regardless of whether there is no need or not, that has to be one of the most stupid statements ever to come out of the ADAC..........
17:50 July 1, 2012 by pepsionice
The idea that you've had a couple of drinks and will go rummage through your trunk to find this plastic baggy, which will very likely be affected by extreme heat from sitting in the trunk for weeks and months. Toss in the fact that various folks will market fake kits and sell them in bulk....and you've got a mess.

ADAC was right about this....a German doesn't need a baggy to determine his drunkness....just count the drinks and figure your weight, and you've got the magic amount you can drink and pass the test. To be honest.....anything beyond two drinks probably puts you at risk anyway. Somewhere out there....there is this French plastic company making millions each year off this technology and their patent.
18:37 July 1, 2012 by Anth2305
"The head of the French L'Automobile motoring club Didier Bollecker told the paper".

For a minute I thought it was April the first...
05:36 July 2, 2012 by belladons
@The ex-pat

lol..love it…..lol
22:23 July 2, 2012 by MrNosey
@the ex-pat

Not really that stupid when you consider that the ADAC tested a selection of those breathalysers and found that they could not distinguish between levels of alcohol - the indicated only if there was alcohol in the breath, not how much, so they are useless. A German (should) at least know whether he has been drinking or not without one of these useless toys to merely confirm it.
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