With about three million drivers from the UK taking their cars abroad this year, many of whom stopping in or through France, car insurance
site Tiger.co.uk highlights the new French breathalyser rules which will come into effect on the 1st
From the 1st
of July drivers in France will be required to carry at least one disposable breathalyser in their car at all times, this breathalyser will need to comply with French regulations and carry the French “NF” label. This adds to the list of safety devices motorists in France are currently required to carry. While this new rule has been announced on 1st
of July 2012, it won’t be fully enforced until November 2012.
France has been plagued with drink driving problems. According to figures published by France’s Road Safety Authority one third of accidents in France each year are caused by drink drivers compared to 12% in Germany and 17% in the UK. This, coupled with the UK Foreign Office reporting a French accident rate which is double that of the UK, highlights the scale of the drink driving problem in France. As a result the French have been cracking down heavily on drink driving as well as trying to improve road safety.
The drink driving limit in France is markedly lower than it is in the UK at just 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, compared to 80mg in the UK. The penalties for being caught are also quite severe; drink driving in France is potentially punishable by 3 years in prison and fines up to €9,000 with much greater fines if you are in an accident or you hurt someone.
People driving in France are also required by law to carry a red warning triangle and a reflective jacket in their vehicle at all times. While driving in France British drivers should be aware that they need to have a GB sticker on their car and they should also be aware that the in-car radar detectors and satnavs which reveal the location of speed cameras are against the law, even if they are not being used. A driver who has one in their car risks being fined, or having their vehicle confiscated.
Andrew Goulborn, Commercial Director at car insurance comparison
site Tiger.co.uk commented: “People who are going to be driving through or to France this year should make sure they are well prepared. This includes being aware of the local driving laws and being certain they have got what they need for the journey. Drivers should also make sure their car is ready for long journeys by running some checks on things like tyre pressure and oil. We provide a pre-holiday vehicle check list on Tiger.co.uk which you can take a look at for more information. It is also really important that drivers check their motor insurance policy with their insurance provider to make sure that they are covered to drive in Europe. While some motor insurance providers will include European travel as standard there are a significant number which do not. Always check with your provider that you have adequate insurance for driving in Europe before you leave.”