07 August 2012 - Travel, Car insurance
France is undertaking new steps in the fight against drunk-driving. Starting in July, the land of a thousand wines now requires that all automobiles be outfitted with at least one breathalyzer. Because the devices were sold out at the time the requirement went into effect, however, a grace period is in place until March 1, 2013. Anyone caught after that time without a breathalyzer on board will pay a fine – though only a minimal one – of 11 Euros.
Foreign travelers are not exempt from the requirement. Every motorist and motorcyclist who uses French roadways must have a breathalyzer on board. It is recommended that motorists purchase two of these single-use tests in order to have an extra on hand in the event they are stopped more than once at a police check.
The devices, called “éthylotests” in France, are available for 1 to 3 Euros each on French motorways, at major distributors and at repair shops and pharmacies. They can also be purchased in Switzerland. Almost every office of the Touring Club of Switzerland, several pharmacies and some larger shopping centres offer them for a couple of Francs. Caution should be taken with products offered online, since these often do not meet the required quality standards, and frequently are considerably more expensive than those available at regular sales outlets.