France makes breathalyzers mandatory in all cars

A man using a car breathalyzer. (AP/Star Tribune, Kyndell Harkness)

PARIS: All French motorists must have a breathalyser in their car from July 1, the French government said Thursday, in a bid to reduce the drink driving that is responsible for one in three road deaths.

"Every driver of a motorized land vehicle, excluding mopeds, must possess an unused and immediately available breathalyzer," said a decree published in the official gazette.

Drivers found without a breathalyser will face a fine of 11 euros (15 dollars) from November 1, an unnamed road security official added.

President Nicolas Sarkozy promised the measure in November in the hope of slashing drink driving, responsible for 31 percent of fatal road accidents.

Disposable breathalysers have been available in French bars and nightclubs since then.

New coaches have been equipped with breathalyser tests that prevent drivers starting the ignition since January 2010. The devices are to be installed in all coaches by the start of the 2015 school year.

A total of 3,970 people died on French roads in 2011, down barely 0.5 percent or 22 lives compared to 2010.

When Sarkozy came to power in 2007 he set the government the ambitious target of reducing annual road deaths to 3,000 by 2012.





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