French driver found seven times over legal alcohol limit

The 58-year-old man had drunk 12 litres of beer, a bottle of pastis, and a bottle of rosé - and did not have a licence

18 October 2020
By Hannah Thompson

A driver in his fifties was apprehended by police in northwest France last weekend and found to be nearly seven times over the legal blood alcohol limit.

The 58-year-old was found asleep at the wheel in Bréhal in Manche in Normandy, at 21:00 last Saturday night (October 10). Gendarmerie at the scene found his blood alcohol level was 3.29 grams per litre.

The man had that day reportedly drunk up to 12 litres of beer - two packs of 24 cans - a bottle of pastis, and a bottle of rosé before getting behind the wheel.

His driving licence was also found to have expired in 1997.

“The gendarmes still cannot believe it,” said a post on the Gendarmerie de la Manche Facebook Page.

The man was found asleep in the vehicle after the car had come to a stop in a roadside ditch, and the gendarmerie said the driver had been “more afraid than he was dangerous”.

The man will now be required to appear before the magistrate in Coutances on January 22, to answer for his offences and explain why he was driving at all without a licence.


Drink driving: The law in France

In France, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5 g/l. Drivers that have had their licence for three years or less are limited to 0.2 g/l. This is in comparison to 0.8g/l in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the same as in Scotland.

Under rules introduced last year, drivers that are found with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.8g/l have a choice between having their licence taken away, or paying more than €1,000 to have a breathalyser device installed in their car.

Drivers must blow into the device - called an ethylotest anti-démarrage (EAD) in French - to check their blood alcohol level before the car can be started at all.

Punishment for drink-driving in France can include losing your licence, a €4,500 fine, and up to two years' imprisonment.

Related stories

Can you lose licence for using phone at wheel in France?

More drivers in France to face breath-test

Zero alcohol drink-drive level problematic: French MP

Drivers in France no longer need breathalyser kits

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