Minister rethinks breath test plan

Road safety committee asked to say if éthylotest law has any value

28 November 2012

INTERIOR Minister Manuel Valls has asked advisers to look at the law that forces drivers to carry a breath test – and tell him if they think it is worth it.

The law, which came into force on July 1, 2012, was one of the last measures of the Sarkozy government and was intended to cut down on drink-driving, with alcohol being the no1 cause of road deaths.

Full application of the law – which would see drivers and motorcyclists fined €11 for not having a kit - was delayed until November 1, 2012, to allow for the kits to be made fully available. Mr Valls has already extended this to March 1, 2013, as a nationwide shortage of kits has seen prices soar from the initial €1 to €5 each.

Now he has asked the Conseil National de la Sécurité Routière to look at the plan again. He said on Europe 1 radio: “This plan and its working pose a certain number of legitimate questions, so we need to evaluate it. The CNSR will look at this measure and after this evaluation I will draw a conclusion.”

But he insisted that he was not reining back the fight for improved road safety: “I want us to continue this battle against road accidents, against speed, against alcohol, against drug use – but we need a prevention policy that works with young people.”

Road safety campaigner Chantal Perrichon, of the Ligue Contre la Violence Routière, told Connexion last month that the law was “useless” and was introduced by the Sarkozy government “just to be seen to be doing something”.

She added: “We need to look to Britain where they have real policies against drink-driving and where they have massively reduced the number of road deaths due to alcohol.”

The test kits themselves, she said, were not reliable and gave too many “false negatives” while also being easily affected by both heat and cold... something often found in cars.

Photo: Sébastien -

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