As of July 1, motorists and users of motor bikes must have a mandatory breath test with them. Under a decree published this week, the lack of possession is punishable by a fine of 11 euros as of 1 November 2012.
Here's how to use this measure which was announced on November 30 by Nicolas Sarkozy.
Who is affected? Motorists and users of two-wheeled motorised vehicles are concerned. Note that drivers of electric vehicles without a license must also obtain a breathalyser. Only holders of mopeds (not exceeding 50 cc and 45 km / h) are exempt from this requirement.
Breathalyzers: chemical or electronic? The road user can use both the chemical breath test - traditionally called the "ballon" which is disposable - or the electronic breathalyser which can be reused. The "ballon" has a life of two years and will cost about 1.50 euro. The electronic model costs between 100 and 200 euros. Initially, the price will incite motorists to purchase the chemical test. But if the driver frequently controls their alcohol level, it would be well advised to invest in the electronic equipment, as pointed out by Jean-Pierre Merchandise, sales manager for Alcolock France, specialising in such equipment.
Which brand to get? "To date, the products on the French market are Korean, Chinese, Canadian, French, German or American," said Daniel Orgeval, president of " l'Association nationale pour la promotion du dépistage d'alcoolémie et des drogues" (National Association for the Advancement of breath alcohol and drugs testing).
How to Choose? The only obligation of the user is to buy a certified product "NF". A brand that ensures an accurate measurement. "Attention to orders made on the Internet: the material was not always this certification," warns Daniel Orgeval.
Will there be a supply shortage? For the moment, breathalyser manufacturers' order books are full to the brim and some are finding it difficult to cope with demand. "We manufactured 12 million breathalysers in 2010 with 67 employees, this year we should make 50 million with 140 people," says its marketing director of Sté Contralco, Guillaume Neau. In addition, sales outlets are expanding, "10% of pharmacies were selling breathalysers in 2010, they are currently 70%, and newsagents have started selling these products," But already, many pharmacies are in Paris out of stock.
How to use the test After alcohol consumption, it is imperative to wait between 30 minutes before using the breathalyser. That's the time it takes for alcohol enters the bloodstream. By not complying with this waiting period, the might be "negative" when you hit the road and found to be positive half an hour later by the police, in case of control.
Why this new obligation? Since 2006, the first cause of death (even before the speeding), alcohol has been responsible for 31% of fatal accidents in France. A figure that the "délégué interministériel à la Sécurité routière" (Interministerial Delegate for Road Safety), Jean-Luc Névache, says has not changed in 10 years. By comparison, this proportion is 17% in Britain and 10% in Germany. According to " la Sécurité routière" (Office of Road Safety), if the guideline (0.5 g per liter of blood) had been respected by all, 1,150 lives would have been saved in 2010.