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Holidaymakers to carry breathalyser kit

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It has been announced that holidaymakers visiting France will have to carry a breathalyser kit in their car under a new law.

The law will come into force in July and will apply to any vehicle driving through France. The device is designed so that motorists can test themselves to see if they are over the drink drive limit.

Many British holidaymakers visit France for weekends away because of the easy commute via ferry and the Channel Tunnel. Motorists crossing the Channel will have to keep check of their drinking as the French drink-driving limit is 50mg compared to the UK’s higher limit of 80mg.

Those who are found to have between 50mg and 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood will be fined 135 Euros (£112) and six points will be added to their licence. Anything higher than 50mg will result in a fine reaching 4,500 Euros (£3,744), losing their licence and are at risk of being sent to prison for up to two years.

Breathalyser kits cost between £1 and £2 and can be purchased on the ferry or at tunnel terminals when crossing France. If drivers are caught without a kit a fine of 11 Euros (£9) will be issued, although penalties will not commence until November giving motorists time to purchase the breathalyser kits.

French driving rules are already strict with compulsory laws that state motorists must carry in their car, an aluminous vest and warning triangle. A GB sticker or number plate with EU logo must be displayed on the car, motorists must carry both parts of their driving licence with them, a copy of their motor insurance and a headlamp converter for driving on the right hand side of the road. 

Director of Policy and Research Neil Greig at the Driving Road Safety organisation IAM said: “The new French rule is a genuine attempt to reduce the number of alcohol related-accidents.

“France’s lower limit means it’s very easy to be over the limit the morning after as well, as always, the best advice for motorists is not to drink and drive at all.”

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By Amanda Bainbridge