Drivers in France given extra time to buy mandatory alcohol tests

Drivers in France will now have a little longer to buy the alcohol tests which every car must carry under a new law aimed at improving safety on the roads.


Interior Minister Manuel Valls is to allow motorists until 1 March 2013 to equip themselves, after many people reported difficulties getting hold of a test ahead of the current 1 November 2012 deadline.

The tests usually cost between one and three euros and cars must carry two tests under the law so that if one is used, a second one remains in the vehicle.

Failure to carry the tests could result in a fine of 11 euros.

Chantal Perrichon of the League Against Violence on the Road (LCVR) welcomed the postponement, saying it was reasonable “for all those who are having trouble purchasing this gadget which is pointless and not very reliable”

The law was introduced in the final year of Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency with the aim of stopping people who have drunk to much taking to the wheel.

But road safety campaigners condemned it as an inadequate measure, and when campaigning for election, current president François Hollande questioned its usefulness, noting that in most accidents “drivers know that they are above the legal limit.”

Manuel Valls is now said to be considering whether to drop the measure altogether, though in a survey published in March, 66 per cent of French people agreed that drivers should be obliged to have an ethylotest in their vehicle.

For six years, alcohol has been the main cause of road deaths in France: 30.8 per cent of road deaths in 2011 were attributable to alcohol, compared to only 17 per cent in Britain or 10 per cent in Germany, both countries which consume similar amounts of alcohol.


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