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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Touring in France

A reminder that as of today (July 1st) all road users have to carry two breathalysers with them when travelling in France.
There are plenty of people selling them on Ebay, and Halfords also have them. The packet is quite small (about the size of a pack of cigarettes) and they cost around £6. They also had them for sale on the ferries I took on my recent trip, but it goes without saying that they were a bit more expensive.
I bought a packet in Halfords as I'm going to France on Thursday (driving a van for riders in the Etape du Tour), and I'll check how cheap they are there.
As I don't drink, mine will sit unused at the bottom of my luggage for years, but if you visit someone else's country, you have to obey their laws. After all, you don't want a run in with an 'officer of the law'.


  1. I understand the principle involved here: if you're not too sure if you've imbibed too much you test yourself using one of the two kits.
    What happens then if you get stopped? You'll only have one kit left so although you're sober enough to drive you're going to get busted for not having the right number of kits in the vehicle.

  2. You actually only need to have one kit under the new law:
    but you're advised to carry two (my misunderstanding of the law). Needless to say, there's been plenty of 'misinformation' from the the usual sources.

  3. Really? Never heard of that, can't the police forces afford their own "Breathalizers"? A friend at work says that when he was a Military police officer stationed in Germany, his outfit and their German counterparts would test each other before returning to base...

  4. I think it's more to do with responsibility. If you drink then drive and the Police (or more likely in France, the Gendarmerie) stop you and find you're over the limit, you can't say 'I didn't know' as the onus is on you to test yourself before you drive. You KNOW you have been drinking, so if you CHOOSE to drive afterwards, you've got no-one to blame but yourself if you're over the limit as you have the means to test yourself in the car. It illustrates a major difference between French and British cultures - in France, you are responsible for your actions; whereas in Britain, it's always 'someone else's fault'. Basically, in France they force you to act like an adult, and I quite like that.