French Approved Breathalyser
French Legislation

Disposable Breathalyser for France

France, along with all other Countries in the EU, has been on a campaign to reduce mortality on its roads. This has been very effective, with the enforcement of seat belt wearing and speed limits resulting in a 50% reduction in road accident deaths in the past 10 years. However, drink driving is still a factor in over 30% of road deaths.

The French Government have therefore decided to make it compulsory to have disposal breathalysers in your car for ‘self testing’ at all times. The idea of this is to pass the responsibility onto the driver to make sure they are ‘fit to drive’. Whilst ultimately, if you are stopped by the Gendarmes, they will test you with their own electronic breathalyser, the driver will not be able to argue that he did not have a way of knowing he might be over the 0.5% French Alcohol limit - so there will be no defence!

Timing and What Drivers Need to Do

The new legislation came into effect from the 1st March 2013, from which time ALL motorised vehicles (including motorbikes) had to carry approved breathalysers for self testing. In order to comply with the legislation the breathalysers must be approved to the all important NF testing standards, as laid down in the French statute books. The French Authorities suggest that you should carry a minimum of 2 breathalysers so, if you do need to test yourself, you will still have a ‘valid’ test available for your journey. The legislation appears as follows in the French Laws:

Decree Number 2012-284 of 28th February 2012 - relating to the possession of a compulsory breathalyser by the driver of a motorised land vehicle.

eArt. R. 234-7.- At ALL times, every driver of a land motor vehicle, except a moped, must be in possession of an unused breath test.

The breathalyser mentioned above must meet the required NF standards, including the provision of an expiry date, provided by its manufacturer. It shall have a certification mark or marking of the manufacturer stating its compliance to a model receiving a certificate of compliance with standards whose references are published in the Official Journal of the French Republic.

With regards to the necessary quality standards for the breathalyser, the legislation states as follows:

Must have been tested and approved in accordance with the requirements set by the NF X20703 October 2000, April 2007 NF X20704, X20702 NC in June 2007, EN 15964 April 2011 and covered, as such, by the certificate of admission to the NF-ETHYLOTEST.