Archived Message
Preparing for Le Mans Classic
I have been following the recent Breathalyser edict in preparation for my visit next week to Le Mans. I understood that one had to carry a breathalyser from 01-07-12, not so, that is when the edict is officially published, it does not become law until 01-11-12. I picked this up from "www dot french breathalyzer dot com" whose website contains a copy of the edict in French along with an English translation. It also makes clear that any breathalyser presented for inspection must be on an approved French Governemnt listing. If the brand presented is not listed then it is unofficial and illegal. I shall buy mine whilst I am in France, Contralco is the brand name. The website is worth a look.
Tony Lake
27/06/2012 @  13:26
Under topic: General
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Preparing for Le Mans Classic
We had a NEWS item on the introduction of the law in France with a requirement to carry a breathalyser in February 2012 based on a report in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday 25th February 2012 spotted by John Cumming. The DT report noted "the law is changing in France on 1st July 2012 when it will be a requirement to carry a breathalyser kit in the car when travelling in France." I have not seen any report that the French breathalyser law will not be in force from 1st July 2012 and frankly with the very modest cost of a breathalyser kit it's worth getting a couple and popping them in the glovebox. You need two because if you test yourself with one and only have one then you would not comply with the requirement of that law to have a breathalyser kit in the car.

I see the AA website still carries a warning referring to the 1st July 2012. On the updated webpage on their handy and comprehensive Driving in France Kit, which contains many of the essential driving requirements, including an "NF" approved breathalyser twin pack together with a handy French phrasebook, glovebox atlas and travel guide, all packaged in a convenient travel bag, they still mention the July 2012 date. This invaluable kit is specifically designed for the British motorist in France.

The information carried by the website says "The law will be enacted on the 1st July and effective on the 1st November" but I think you do need to exercise some caution with information provided on the internet, although the website you mention appears to be run by an organisation involved in breathalysers, AlcoDigital/UKBreathalysers, so on the face of it their interest would be in encouraging the early purchase of the kits rather than the delay by a few months.

It's wise to be careful where there is a risk of a possible breach of a motoring law is involved, particularly in France. From my experience of visits to le Mans in my MGBGTV8 I know the French police are out in force on the roads from le Havre and Caen so very great care is needed. Also note the law in France that bans GPS devices that warn of speed cameras, not to mention their zero tolerance of proactive radar detectors! Our NEWS report posted in January 2012 is at:
V8 Webmaster
27/06/2012 @  23:18
Preparing for Le Mans Classic
As of the 1st July it is a legal requirement to carry an unused breath test here (France), the fine for not having one is €11, however, apparently fines will not be levied until 1st November. The breath tests are available from pharmacies, tobacconists, service stations and supermarkets and I have just purchased a few from Feu Vert (similar to Halfords). They cost about €1 each and the Calais/Dover ferry had a twin pack for about £6 last week. They must be marked NF (norme francaise) and the ones I bought have a shelf life of 2 years.

Incidentally you also need to carry a warning triangle, yellow vest and a spare set of bulbs.

I have had to reprogram my Satnav and it now gives a safety warning of a potentially dangerous area 400 metres to 4 kilometres ahead where radar and or cameras may be located. It no longer gives an alert where cameras are.
Geoff King
28/06/2012 @  05:54
Preparing for Le Mans Classic
Tony, I am also preparing for the trip to Le Mans next week. There's 5 of us RV8, friend's E-type and a Nissan pick-up truck ! For info, Halfords does a twin pack 'NF' approved breathalysers for £5.99.
Pat Boghossian
28/06/2012 @  07:09
Preparing for Le Mans Classic
I am going to post this in two parts as the server doesn't like all the script. CONTROVERSY surrounds the launch of the new breath test law on July 1 which forces drivers to carry a breathalyser in each vehicle or face a €11 fine (from November). Drivers' groups have been protesting for some time that the law was pushed through by Interior Minister Claude Guéant and the Sarkozy government under pressure from a road safety group, I-Test - whose president is a senior executive with the No1 manufacturer of breath testing equipment, Contralco.

Now major news media have picked up on the story, with RTL and Sud Ouest asking if there has not been a conflict of interest. I-Test president Daniel Orgeval is head of training at Contralco and the Hérault company had been in poor financial health for some time until the law was brought in.

Now, the new law - which recognises only equipment meeting the Norme Française standard - has meant an immediate boost as it opens a domestic market of 46 million motorists and two-wheeler users.

Contralco has taken 100 staff since last year on the back of a demand for five million tests a month - and now employs 174. It and South African company Red Line Products are the only two companies that meet the NF standard. Contralco has 78% of the market. However, they are failing to meet demand, with shops across France reporting that they have run out of supplies. Earlier this month French customs officers seized 19,500 fake Chinese breathalysers in raids at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Marseille and Lyon. Orgeval himself told Sud Ouest when contacted: "No, I don't spend my weekends with Claude Guéant; I was just very convincing in front of the MPs." He added that he had been involved in road safety for 30 years and said I-test was not unusual in having industry representatives on board.

I tried everywhere to get a Breathalyser last week , SuperU, Intermarche and the local Chemist, even tried Feu Vert in St Brieuc (22) , no joy ,all said sold out and they don't know when further supply's will be in stock, luckily I bagged the last one Halfords had in stock yesterday and the box is marked NF.
Nigel Ricardo
29/06/2012 @  01:28
Preparing for Le Mans Classic
We shall be parking at the MGCC de France spot on the Bugatti circuit, very sociable crowd, they know how to organise a party.
When I lived in France in the late 90s Monday morning newspapers made pretty dispiriting reading, awful accident reports that always seemed to involve young people. There was a lot of political soul searching and eventually speed limit enforcement and much lower allowable blood/alcohol levels has had a big impact on road deaths. The fatal incident statistics are still higher than the UK by almost a factor of 2 and drink driving still is a problem. So no surprise that the legislation has, quite cleverly I think, turned the problem back to the drivers and made it their responsibility to be under the limit, there really isn't an excuse for being over the top.
I suspect that November enforcement is there because it would have been too much for the French motorist to bear as the July/August holiday period starts next week. This is the softening up period before it gets really tough.
The revelations from Nigel are brilliant although I think they have a bit to go before they catch up with RBS and Barclays who in my opinion are completely out of control.
Tony Lake
29/06/2012 @  03:57
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