Breathalyzer Law Takes Effect in France

Meant to curb drunk driving, the new law requiring every vehicle with four or more wheels in France to have a breathalyzer kit took effect July 1.

A new law in France requires every four-wheeled vehicle to be equipped with a breathalyzer. Two- and three-wheeled vehicles with engines smaller than 50 cubic centimeters are exempted; the new law is intended to reduce drunk driving, and it carries a fine of 11 euros for failing to comply, but police will not fine violators until November 2012. The law passed in February 2012.

Foreign drivers are not exempted, so travel sites and agencies are warning foreign visitors about it and urging them to carry two breathalyzer kits. French police say they will make random checks on drivers crossing into France on ferries and through the English Channel tunnel.

The French government said it hoped domestic drivers who suspected they may be over the legal limit to test themselves and said it expected the law will save about 500 lives per year. The country's legal blood-alcohol limit is .05, lower than the U.S. limit of .08.

French media already are reporting a shortage of breathalyzer units on the market as a result of the law.

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