October 18, 2012

Regular readers may recall how Bankstone News broke the news back in February that, as of next month (i.e. November 2012), anyone driving in France would have to carry an alcohol breath test kit with them at all times. That or face one or other (or both) of: a) an extortionately hefty fine* or b) indefinite anonymous detention in some dismal oubliette. Back in the spring there was some doubt as to whether this also applied to motorcyclists or just carists. Remember that? No? Well, never mind, because things have moved on a bit in the meantime.

The latest developments comprise elements of both good news and bad news. You’d better have the bad news first – and the good news about the bad news is that it is only bad news for bikers and barely news at all for those who don’t bike. It is, in short, this: bikers are indeed included in the breath test kit requirement – unless, that is, they are not really bikers at all but merely mopedists (mopeders? mopers?). And the promised good news? The implementation date has been pushed back til March next year.

There’s actually some more good news. Single-use breath test kits will be available from all good ferry and tunnel terminals for £2 or less and, as well as being handy for waving at gendarmes, if you breath into them they will give you an approximate indication as to whether you are legally sober enough to drive. You probably aren’t – especially if you have been anywhere near alcohol in the previous 24 hours – as the French limit is a paltry 50mg per 100ml.

But of course if you use them for breathing into, you cannot then wave them at gendarmes to any useful purpose – and a self-diagnosis of ‘sober’ constitutes no defence against a contrary second opinion from an agent of the loh. So basically they’re for display purposes only and a total waste of time.

*€11


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