Breathalyzer Kits in France-New French Breathalyzer Law a beaurocratic nightmare for french & english drivers or the way forward on drink driving

breathalyzer kits France | French Breathalyzer

Access Diagnostic Tests & ValueBreathalysers are receiving multiple e-mails every day about the new french breathalyzer kit law due to come into force this July 1st.

There seems to be a huge amount of confusion and mis-information about what the actual requriement is and how rigidly it will be enforced by the french Police. This is made all the more difficult because most of the information is in french and the translation tools are not as effective in translating them into english as one would hope.

Anyway we have spent hours pooling all the information available so far on the web in an attempt to clarify things for british drivers.

Here is what seems clear so far:

  • It will apply to all drivers in France including british drivers
  • You will be expected to have an unused & readily available breathalyzer kit in your car at all times, when in France or face fines.
  • You will be expect to produce this if asked to by the french police
  • Having the kit in the car does not mean the french police will not breathalyse you-fairly obvious but thought we’d better mention it
  • If you are found to be over the limit having a breathalyzer kit in the car will not protect you from prosecution-again fairly obvious but thought we’d mention it.
  • The french drink driving limit 0.05% BAC  is significantly lower than the UK’s  at 0.08% BAC
  • It is best to avoid drinking and driving. As the french limit is much lower than the UK, you are more likely to be over the limit if you do  and face prosecution.
  • You could still easily be over the french limit the morning after you consumed alcohol the night before.
  • You will required to carry the breathalyzer test kits even if you are tee-total and have no intention of drinking and driving
  • If you are on a normal driving license you will be required to carry a 0.05% BAC Detection Breathalyzer that you will be expected to produce if stopped and asked to by the french police.
  • If you are on a professional driver license such as a bus driver or lorry driver you will be expected to carry a 0.02% BAC detection breathalyzer kit
  • The new law is effective from the 1st July 2012-but there seems to be speculation about whether the police will enforce fines straight away or whether there will be a period of grace possibly until November 2012 (why November ?)
  • The fine for not having a breathalyzer kit is relatively small at around 11 Euros, but if you are stopped multiple times it will start to add up-this has greatest implications for those driving in France often or for extended periods of time, or for those brits who live in france for some of the year.
  • It is probably advisable to carry at least 2 of the disposable breathalyzer test kits in case you are required to use one, so that you have a spare.
  • The breathalyzer kits must be’ in date’. All disposable breathalyzer kits have an expiry or use by date on them. You will be expected to check that the ones that you have are within date and have not expired. When they are past the use by date you will be required to purchase new ones to carry.
  • The single use breathalysers are relatively inexpensive-around £4.99 for a pack of 3 and if you go for ones with a long shelf life should last you for many trips.

Here is a link to the french law page not surprisingly it is in french ! Please give us an english translation

The rest is speculation.  Some breathalyzer suppliers are suggesting that only the french NF certified (a volunatry certification in France) breathalyzer kits (& co-incidentally the brand that they stock) are suitable, but our research has not as yet confirmed this.

I am not sure if the french government has yet ironed out all the ins and outs of the legislation and whether in fact sufficient breathalyzer kits will have been manufactured by 1/7/2012 for even the french population, let alone all the tourists travelling from other countries to France this summer.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out, and whether it will have the desired effect. It has certainly raised public awareness both in France and around the world on the issues around drink driving, and has made british drivers more aware of the lower french alcohol limits.

Maybe the intention is to have the same effect that the smoking ban in UK has had on smoking levels. Smoking in public places in UK has become much less common since the smoking ban in restaurants, pubs and workplaces came into force and smokers are now frequently in the minority.

The french government clearly wishes to change the french drinking culture in the same way, so that drinking and driving is seen as socially & morally unacceptable in France. Should we be doing the same ? Are the UK limits out of step with the rest of the EU ? Should we have lower limits 0.02% BAC for newly qualified drivers as some other european countries have.

As always let us know your thoughts in comments. This topic has certainly got legs & could run and run.

To see a range of Breathalyzers including disposable 0.05% BAC breathalyzers visit

One thought on “Breathalyzer Kits in France-New French Breathalyzer Law a beaurocratic nightmare for french & english drivers or the way forward on drink driving

  1. We have now received clarification on the NF . For a breathalyzer to be recognised as suitable by the french police it will need to have the NF certificate. Understandably manufacturers on now clammering to get the NF certificate in time for the start of the new french breathalyzer law in July 2012. It has been implied that there will be a ‘period of grace’ until November 2012 which we think should mean that motorists will not be fined until after this time. I think this may be because the breathalyzer manufacturers are struggling to meet the demand for the NF breathalyzers so it may be that not enough will have been produced with the NF certificate before 1st July 2012. Most breathalyzer manufacturers that have applied for NF are hoping to have their NF certificate before the 1st July 2012 deadline.

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