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New breathalyser law for driving in France

Drivers heading to or through France this summer should note the new requirement to carry a breathalyser kit in their vehicles from 1 July.

The legislation means that everybody driving on French roads should be able to produce an unused self test kit, marked with the French ‘NF’ certification standard.
The general advice is to carry two kits so if one is used, having a spare keeps you on the right side of the law. The fine for not having a kit is €11 although French police are expected to operate a grace period, until November, when no penalties will be issued.

Introduction of the new legislation was due last year but was put back to this summer due to the challenge of producing vast numbers of the kits. P&O Ferries alone carries more than one million cars and a million lorries between the UK and France each year. The company has now secured bulk supplies of twin packs of the kits to offer on its ships.
Another important point for driving in France is that the drink driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, much lower than the UK’s 80mg.

Other tips from P&O Ferries for continental motoring this summer are:
- Spain: indicate on motorways before and after overtaking or face an on the spot fine.
- Germany: contrary to popular belief, most of the Autobahn network does have speed limits.
- Lights: convert them as dazzling other drivers is discourteous at best, and can cause accidents.
- Drink: alcohol limits are much lower than in the UK, and zero in the Czech Republic.
- Warning kit: triangles and hi-viz jackets are widely required these days.
- Speed: spot fines are common, so slow down and relax, you’re on holiday.
- D for delight: the minor French D roads are a delight for exploring the real France.
- Check: do check the driving regulations of countries you’re visiting. National tourist board websites are a good place to look.