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Motorists In France Must Carry Alco-Test Kits from July 1 2012

Outline
Circulating message claims that, from July 1st 2012, motorists and motorcyclists travelling in France must carry a portable breathalyser or risk being fined.



Brief Analysis
The core claim in the message is true. From July 1, a new law will come into effect in France that requires all motorists including visitors to carry a portable breathalyser unit as part of their safety equipment or face a fine. However, reports indicate that the fine will be just 11 Euro rather than 70 Euro as claimed in the message.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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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


Example
NOTICE TO ALL BIKERS COMING TO FRANCE THIS SUMMER! From 1st July it will be compulsory for all motorists and motorcyclists to carry an alco-test with them, failure to do so will result in an on the spot fine of 70 Euros, and if you cant pay, the cops WILL seize possession of your bike until you pay up! Check points will be wide spread during July/August so dont get caught out! You can buy them in Boots and most supermarket chains in the UK or most supermarkets over here, price varies between 1 and 2 Euros!Just be prepared folks, wouldn't like to see anybodies holiday ride ruined for the sake of 2 quid!




Detailed Analysis
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.

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References
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


Last updated: 29 June, 2012
First published: 29 June, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer