French breathalyzer law suspended

A news item in time for travel season: You might remember that last year France passed a law requiring two breathalyzers in each car–including rentals–at all times. The French were shocked to discover that the law passed as the result of a bare-knuckles practice known as “le lobbying.”

Well, in case you had breathalyzers on your packing list for France this summer, you can take them off because the French breathalyzer law was suspended back in January.

Meanwhile, in other news in the Department of Blood Alcohol Content, the National Transportation Safety Board here has recommended reducing the BAC from the current 0.08% to 0.05%. I haven’t read up enough on the recommendation to know if it would reduce the 10,000+ alcohol-related fatalities in the US, a tragically high figure. Intuitively, it seems the answer would be yes since four beers at 5% abv in a 90-minute period for a 180-pound male does seem like taking onboard way too much before getting behind the wheel. What do you say? At any rate, the lack of response from the wine industry has been surprising. Other industry groups, such as the Alcohol Beverage Institute and the National Restaurant Association, predictably lambasted the proposal. At any rate, we know that the policy decision won’t be influenced by lobbying…

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8 Responses to “French breathalyzer law suspended”


  1. hard to argue with reducing bac level – just too many alcohol related accidents.


  2. The French law seems fairly stupid. The Blood Alcohol Content of .05 is probably not a bad idea. But something needs to be done about repeat offenders. How is it that someone with 5 DWIs can have a license?


  3. Aren’t there certain over the counter medications that recommend not operating heavy machinery in their warning statements? I have no problem with stricter laws against drinking and driving. Amazing how having a couple of teenagers in the immediate family can create a 180….


  4. Can someone point to the stats on alcohol-related deaths and BAC levels? I wonder if more deaths correlate with high BAC (>0.08), and if fewer deaths correlate with low BAC (<0.05-0.08). If so, is this just a way for budget-strapped agencies to get more cash (through more arrests and fines)?.


  5. @Rick – I haven’t seen the data. But, as I said in the post, it does seem intuitive that the lower the limits on BAC, the more lives would be saved from drunken driving.

    @Philippe – indeed!

    @Quizicat – Yes, that is absurd. Isn’t it one strike and you’re out? I guess not always.


  6. I’d like to see someone address the repeat offenders issue. I read of people with 7 DWIs. What’s the story with that?
    I wonder if e-bay has lightly used French breathalyzers.


  7. My understanding of the French breathalyzer law is that it remains on the books but the penalty for its violation has been removed.


  8. @Robin – Multiple DUIs is terrible. I don’t even understand how that is permitted. Those people should have their licenses revoked.

    @Bob – yes, suspended. And the fine was only 11 euros anyway…


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