Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Private Motorists and Road Haulage Freight Drivers Must Carry Breathalysers

New French Law Explained and Kits Available On Line
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – Under the new laws passed in March ALL road vehicles, including cars, motorcycles (excluding mopeds), freight trucks, engaged in international haulage or otherwise must carry their own Government approved breathalysers from the 1st November 2012 whilst driving in the country. If you are found not to have at least one unused breathalyser kit with you when stopped by police you will be subject to a minimum penalty of a fine of €11. The rule is the latest measure in the French Government’s battle to make the country’s roads safer and estimates as many as 500 lives a year might be saved by the new legislation.

The French police ‘suggest’ that drivers carry a minimum of two of the ‘NF’ approved kits although if you are suspected of having more than the 50mg of alcohol in 100ml in your blood (the UK limit is 80mg) it will be the authorities own test kit that will be relied on as evidence. The death toll on France’s roads is persistently higher than that in the UK , Switzerland or Germany with around 7 deaths per 100,000 citizens per year although on a par or better than with other near neighbours such as Spain, Italy and Portugal.

In recent years France has legislated to ban satellite navigation aids capable of detecting speed cameras, with draconian penalties including vehicle confiscation for offenders, the compulsory carriage of visibility vests as well as the need for spare vehicle bulbs, warning triangles plus headlamp converters (for right hand drive vehicles). As anyone previously stopped by the French police can testify the law is likely to be enthusiastically implemented and in the past some French haulage companies have been so troubled by the fact that drivers often arrived after a heavy weekend unfit to drive they have taken to fitting alcolock technology as required in all new Swedish vehicles and on which we wrote three years ago.

Obeying the new directive is a straightforward and relatively painless process with the new kit available from vehicle spares retailers such as Halfords and transport training and safety agency Novodata have launched a special help page with kits available to buy online HERE.