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Recent French Intervention to Increase Drunk Drivers’ Self-Accountability

19 Jan, 13 | by Junaid Bhatti

France has achieved remarkable road safety results in the last decade. It almost halved its road fatalities from 2002 to 2005, and the decreasing trend has continued. Most of these reductions are attributed to rigorous speed control, particularly by automated cameras and the issuance of speed tickets. Drunk driving, however, remains a major problem as it is a contributory factor in one third of road fatalities in France, a proportion that has remained unchanged in the last decade. Recently, the French Government introduced a law that made it mandatory for every car to be equipped with one single-use breath alcohol test. The government is hoping that by using this test the French drivers will understand their impairment levels after drinking events and consequently avoid drunk driving. The law was introduced on July 1, 2012 with first sanctions intended to start by Nov 1, 2012. Due to an inadequate supply of the breath alcohol tests, the date of sanctioning has been postponed until March 1, 2013. Though it is too early to tell what the real impact of this measure is, this intervention is already appealing to road safety advocacy groups outside France.

 Introduction of French law:

 Postponement of sanctioning date:

 Opinion of Quebec road safety advocates:

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  • Francisco Lopez-Valdes

    Interestingly, this law does not apply only to French drivers but to anyone driving a car in France. In Spain, we have been reminded by the DGT (Spanish Agency in charge of Traffic Safety) to bring one breath alcohol-test if we were planning to drive across the border…

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