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Now if I was a betting man…

There is a new law in France that every car must carry a breathalyser so that drivers can test themselves and see if they are fit to drive.

Call me a cynic if you like but I strongly suspect that certain law makers may well have significant pecuniary interests in…

… the country’s two companies that make these breathalyser sets

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21 comments to Now if I was a betting man…

  • Anon

    Seems Islamophobic to me.

  • M. Thompson

    Sounds about right. Just an excellent opportunity for graft.

    And what former politicians after the next election will get nice directorships with those companies?

  • Henry

    I would recommend that all the countries bordering France implement a garlic breathalyser requirement that would prevent these muppets contaminating the air we all have to share.

    An interlock device present on all French registered vehicles blocking the engine if more that one clove had been consumed in the previous 24hrs would ensure considerate driving for the rest of Europe.

    Of course non-French registered cars would escape this requirement as the other EU citizens know how to use garlic responsibly.

    I think my proposal has as much merit as theirs, and I’m sure would win an EU wide vote.

  • Interestingly, this may or may not stop drink-driving, but it will almost certainly stop people getting *caught* for drink driving.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    If the French do eat as much garlic as some think, no wonder the French don’t have vampires! I suppose they grow up immune to it, and so don’t notice their own breath.

  • I think the message here is “don’t go to France”.

  • I think the message here is “don’t go to France”.

    Unfortunately, it is easiest to get to some of the nicer parts of Europe by car via France.

    The food is quite nice as well.

  • Alisa

    Oh, enough with bashing-the-French, already. It’s not like the Anglosphere is any better with all this regulation nonsense – and in fact, I hear that France actually is better, overall, in more ways than one.

  • RAB

    I’m actually writing this from France. Yes the wife has ensured that we have all the right gear, the bleedin visibility jacket, the sodding warning triangle, the effin lights ajusted, and of course, the breathalyser. But guess what? just like dear old Blighty I haven’t seen a policeman in a week and a half.

    And yes, the food is brilliant.

  • Alisa

    Lights adjusted?

  • RAB

    Yeah. Some sort of plastic you stick over the headlights to ajust the angle of the beam, so you don’t dazzle their delicate little Gaulic eyes.

    And contrary to popular opinion, all the French we have met(we are staying not far from Poitiers) are very friendly and helpful. Maybe it’s because we have the bonkers dog with us, she’s just great at making frinds, or maybe it’s just the Parisians that are the snotty gits.

  • lucklucky

    So the French cars still have yellow headlights?

  • It’s probably not obvious to international readers that RAB’s car is designed for driving on the left, so his headlights point left. Adjusting the lights makes perfect sense.

  • Tedd

    I must be missing something. I thought this was exactly the sort of foolishness that the EU was created to prevent.

  • Tedd

    (Have to say, though: the headlight thing probably makes some sense. It could be made to make more sense by only requiring it at night.)

  • Alan

    The measure will, as always, be subject to the law of unintended consequences. In fact, the unintended consequences have already happened: the actual start date for enforcement has now been put back to 1/11/12, because there aren’t enough breathalyser units in the shops.

    You’re supposed to carry two of these things (at €2 a pop); I can’t imagine that anyone (especially in France) is actually going to use the things; it’s just another thing you can be charged with if they pick you up for a more major infraction, and find you don’t have one, much like the requirement to have a HiVi vest in the car. If you run a ‘stop’ sign, or exceed the speed limit, the law about breathalysers might come into play, but not until.

  • Tedd

    A question for the lawyers: If a study (or studies) were to conclusively show that a solid majority of drivers is in violation of at least one statute (such as by not having a vest in the car), does that mean that the police have “probable cause” to pull over any car, any time? What if the study showed that a solid majority of drivers was in violation of one specific statute?

    (Unrelated: The anti-spambot code I got for this post was 597795. I feel very special.)

  • bloke in spain

    Having driven around France quite a bit in the last few years I can’t find a great deal of fault with motoring there. Been breathalysed a couple times. Favourite is a road block out in the boonies on a Saturday afternoon. Locals like to linger in the bar after lunch & take to the roads with a few too many reds. But there’s a difference to the UK. It’s done politely. None of that “Would you mind getting out of the vehicle, Sir” Been drinking have we Sir?” Sir, capitalised & delivered with that sneer British cops specialise in, makes it rhyme with punt. “No? Then we won’t mind providing a test then, will we Sir” It’s just a quite businesslike “Remain in the vehicle. We require you to take a test. Blow in the bag. Merci. Bon voyage” And away you go. No kicking the tyres, Peering in the back. Trying to find something worth a nick.
    If the French are insisting on breath kits, it’s to prevent drivers getting done for drink driving. The UK response would be to make having one in the car an offense if they thought they could make it stick.
    It’s rather like speed cameras. I’ve been driving in the UK the past couple weeks & they’re everywhere. Very rarely see them in France & when you do, on the autoroutes there’s a bloody great sign warning you a couple of kilometres before.
    If you are driving in France, couple of tips. The stop sign at a junction means stop. 3 seconds.Even on an empty road. Not the Brit version of slow & roll. If you’re driving alone, you have to get out at the peage to do the ticket. Turn the engine off. Like the UK, leaving a vehicle with the motor running’s a nick. Both these offences, Gendarmes can be officious about if they’re not feeling particularly Anglophile that day.

  • Henry

    The purpose of these devices is so that victim.. erm driver, has no excuse for driving while over the limit. What it does in fact is create more drink drivers because the alcohol level climbs even after you stop drinking so you might pass the test as you get in your car, but fail not long after when you get stopped. Also with such a low limit, interference will be significant (ketosis diets and driving will be a no-no).

    These devices being chemical will no doubt be nobble-able (the short shelf life indicates this might be the case), so if you get stopped and Le Fuzz ask you to use one, I’m sure a pass will illicite them whipping theirs out, so actually these serve no purpose except entrapment and as a justification for larger fines.

    BTW, the yellow lights used to be hilarious – a requirement in France but illegal in Italy! So yes the EU harmonisation has had some benefits.. no more rubbing garlic onto headlights for me!

  • Give me a French jobsworth over his British counterpart any day. Ditto for policemen.

  • Andrew Duffin

    And if I were a betting man, I would guess that this is actually an EU regulation of some sort which will soon be introduced here by Cameroid, after some sort of carefully-concerted media panic about drink-driving, but in which the EU angle will never be mentioned by anyone except Richard North.