If you're travelling by car to France this year, don't forget to furnish yourself with a breathalyer which you must by law have in your car from July 1st, 2012. If you are found without an "alcootest" or an " éthylotest " , you will face an on the spot fine of 11 euros...
Road deaths have halved in France over the past decade and are now around 4000 per annum. Sarko aims to get this number under 3000 with this new legislation. France is the first nation in the world to make breathalysers mandatory and if it is a success, the law will be introduced throughout Europe.
How effective they will be is anyone's guess but they will certainly be a good money spinner, for the trésor public and the manufacturers of the alccootests, which are going to cost about 2euros a blow.
I've seen a big change in people's attitude to drink driving in the 10 years I've been here .. Everyone, without exception, drank and drove in the early noughties. Now, taxis seem to be more available ( although extortionate in price, a 4 km night taxi drive from Perpignan to Cabestany can cost up to 20euros), people nominate a designated driver ( who will only drink wine!) and in general, people are more careful. Still, drink driving is a huge problem in France, where drinking wine, is not really considered "drinking" and most motorists would be well over the limit after a normal lunch of apero and wine with their food.
At a family lunch party this weekend, the french inlaws knocked back several whiskeys and several wines, followed by Irish coffees and then they all merrily hopped into their cars and drove home without a thought..
Would an alcootest have stopped them?