Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Nicolas Sarkozy's parting gift to the French people: a breathalyser in every car

Nicolas Sarkozy's cadeau de départ

Warning – new requirement when driving in France  

Despite the grim weather the beginning of July fast approaches when from the first of the month all cars and motorbikes in France will be required to carry at least two breathalysers (l'argot: sarkos). There will be a period of grace until 1st November 2012 when motorists caught without the required breathalysers will be liable to a fine of 11€. I have also seen 17€ suggested.

I remain puzzled over the purpose of this measure. As I understand it motorists are required to have at least two unused kits in their cars to be ready for use if they are stopped by the police. But I thought the police carried their own alcohol testing kits. Certainly the only time we have been stopped in France for a breathalyser test was in the middle of the afternoon in the depths of Lozère when the police had their own kit. The fact that the trainee policeman tried to insist that the passenger – me – blow into the bag is neither here nor there! In any case we had been out walking and neither of us had had anything to drink that day.

The measure might make sense if motorists who had been drinking were required to test themselves before setting off. As it stands it looks to be a way of saving money: police budgets can be cut because they won't have to buy so many breathalysers.

Had Nicolas Sarkozy been re-elected he might have pursued this budgetary logic further by insisting that motorists equip themselves in case of being stopped by the CRS (French riot police with a fearsome reputation). Drivers would have been required to carry at least one pair of handcuffs, a canister of CS gas and a night stick or truncheon...  


Jon said...

At least they are not too expensive, I picked up mine at Auchan for €2 each.

Jim's Loire said...

Jon. I've ordered a pack of two through Amazon.UK slightly more expensive but at least they will be in the car when we next enter France.

Guillaume L said...


C'est surtout une affaire de lobbying et de conflit d'intérêt : Daniel Orgeval est président de l'association qui militait pour les éthylotests obligatoires. A ce titre il a été entendu par la mission d'information parlementaire. Mais il est surtout chargé de mission pour Contralco, leader de la fabrication des éthylotests !
Bravo à Mr Orgeval ! Mission accomplie : les automobilistes renfloueront les comptes de son employeur !!

Ian S said...

I was reflecting on the irony that teetotallers (like M. Sarkozy) would also be forced to buy and carry them in the car. I bet his fellow non-drinkers are unhappy about that.