France’s new breathalyser legislation: should the UK follow suit?
Ian McIntosh, RED’s chief exec, provides his thoughts on the new ruling.
Every year, 4,000 people are killed on the roads in France and one of the major causes for this is drink driving accidents. According to road security authorities, alcohol has been the main cause for mortality on roads since 2006, and a third of deaths caused by drink-driver related accidents.
In the hope of reducing the number of accidents and deaths on the road caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, the French Government has introduced new laws which demand that motorists carry a breathalyser in their vehicle.
From November 2012, drivers who fail to produce a breathalyser will face an on the spot fine of 11 Euros (£8). The new law has been introduced in an effort to encourage motorists to check that they are fit to drive before getting behind the wheel. By being able to test their alcohol levels themselves, the French government hopes that drivers who are over the limit will refrain from using their vehicles.
Though the measure has received a mixed response from the French public, it is anticipated that it could save as many as 500 lives a year.
Here at RED, we know drink driving is also a key concern in the UK and many Government initiatives have been put in place to prevent people tempted to drive home when they’re over the legal alcohol limit. Given the devastating consequences drink driving can have, we welcome the French ruling as we do believe it will make drivers think twice before getting in their car believing that they’re ok to drive following a couple of drinks. Despite the highly discussed dangers of drink driving, many still do not realise how potent alcohol is and how just one drink can alter a driver’s ability to drive safely.
The breathalyser introduction, we feel, is a step in the right direction for driving safely in Europe – it means drivers can be 100 per cent sure that they are safe to drive and are within the legal limit if they have had a drink before getting in their car. Ideally, however, RED resolutely believes that if alcohol has been consumed, a person should not drive whatever the circumstances as the effects of alcohol differ from person to person. RED believes that the only way to guarantee road safety is to avoid driving when alcohol has been consumed and choose an alternative form of transport. Safe driving must always be the priority as it’s true what they say: “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”