Holidaying motorists driving through France must carry a breath test kit to comply with new drinking driving laws.
The new rules start from July 1 and require all drivers to carry a single-use breath test kit in their vehicles.
After an initial bedding in period ending on October 31, failing to carry a breath test kit will trigger an on-the-spot fine.Drink-driving laws are much tougher in France than the UK – the limit is just 50mg per 100ml of blood compared to 80mg in Britain.
New European Union information sharing also means drivers in the UK could pay more or lose insurance cover if they are convicted of drink-driving in France.
Single-use breath kits costing around £2 will be sold at ferry ports and the Eurotunnel.
The kits are for motorists to self-test before driving to check whether they are over the French limit.
Neil Greig, of the Institute for Advanced Motorists (IAM’s), warns British drivers not to drink and drive as the lower limit is easy to breach.
French speed limits are also tougher than in the UK, often with different upper limits –
- For driving in the wet and dry
- For driving with a trailer that weighs over 3.5 tonnes
- For driving if holding a licence for less than two years
Motorists driving at more than 25km/h above the speed limit can have their licence confiscated on the spot, while speeding also attracts on-the-spot fines.
Town and city speed limits begin and end at the urban limits sign – not from the first 50km/h sign.
Do not carry a radar detector in the car – possessing one in a vehicle is illegal and could lead to a fine or confiscation of the car.
Also it makes sense to ensure that you have adequate overseas breakdown insurance cover before setting off to the continent; or you could find yourself seriously out of pocket.