Driving in France? Don’t Forget the Breathalyzer Kit!

Frequent drivers to France will already know that you need to take with you in your car a red warning triangle and some spare bulbs, but from July 1st you will also need to carry a breathalyzer kit by law, or you can face a fine. This new addition follows the many other items that are required to be carried by all motorists travelling in France, whether they are native drivers or visitors, and with the summer holidays approaching, the French Transport Ministry are attempting to crack down on what they see is a real problem of drink driving on their roads. How supplying your own breathalyzer kits will achieve this apart from saving the government money I am not entirely sure, but UK motorists must be aware that to be caught without one will mean a caution from July 1st until November, and then the fines will apply of around €11 (£9). UK motorists should also be aware that the drink driving limit is lower in France than in the UK at 0.5 grams per litre compared to 0.8 grams per litre in the UK. The single use breathalyzer kits will allow travellers to be able to test themselves as well as others if they suspect they might be over the limit of drink driving.

Single-use breathalysers cost between €0.50 and €1.50 and to comply with legislation they should bear the blue circular “NF” logo, which is the equivalent of the BSI kite mark in Britain. There is a list of approved makes that can be purchased before you travel and motorists are being advised to buy at least two so that they can produce one to the police and have a second one as a spare if and when it is required.

Anyone driving in France is already required to carry several different items which are listed below, for instance, you have to have a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest. The vest should be carried inside the car and not in the boot of the car. Failure to have these in the car can lead to a fine of €90. Other items required are a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and spare bulbs for car lamps, plus if you wear contact lenses or glasses you should carry a second pair with you. Here is an upto date list of everything you now need to carry with you when travelling in France.

  • Headlamp Adaptors
  • GB Stickers – mandatory to let everyone know where the car is registered
  • Warning Triangle – to be placed 50-150 metres (320-480 ft) behind your car if you break down
  • Fluorescent Safety Vest (placed in the car)
  • Spare Bulbs
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Single use breathalyzer kits
  • Spare glasses or contact lenses
  • UK Driving Licence, car registration and insurance policy documents