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Last updated: 29 June, 2012
First published: 29 June, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
According to this warning message, which circulates via email and social media, drivers and bikers travelling in France will be required by law to carry an alco-test kit in their vehicles from July 1, 2012. The message claims that being caught by police without such a kit will result in an on-the-spot fine of 70 Euro. And, claims the warning, police can seize the vehicle if you are unable to pay the fine.
The claim that drivers in France will be required to carry a portable breathalyser from 1st July is correct. A report on France 24 notes:
A new French law that comes into force on Sunday July 1 demands all motorists in France, including tourists, to carry a breathalyser kit in their vehicle.
The Daily Mail concurs, noting:
British holidaymakers will have to carry breathalyser kits in their vehicles when they visit France from next weekend.
It is the latest headache for drivers in the country who are already penalised for not having a luminous safety vest or a warning triangle in the car.
French police have threatened to crack down on motorists coming into the country via major transport routes so visiting drivers should be prepared in advance. Two testing kits have been approved by the French government, a cheap, 3 pound, blow in the bag version and a more expensive digital version worth 100 pounds.
However, the fine for being caught without a breath testing unit will be only 11 Euro (around 9 pounds), not 70 Euro ( around 56 pounds) as suggested in the above message. Moreover, there will be a grace period for fine payments after the new law comes into effect, so offenders will have until November 2012 to pay up. Thus, at least in the short term, vehicles will not be seized in response to non-payment of the fine as claimed in the warning.
The move has cause controversy, with some motoring groups pointing out that the cheap test kits do not give accurate readings and therefore may be misleading for drivers. Drivers in France are already required to carry a luminous safety vest and a warning triangle in their vehicles or face fines.
Controversy hits France's crackdown on drink driving
France orders British drivers to bring their own breathalysers as list of holiday safety kit grows
Motorists will have to carry portable breathalyser in France