Beware France Breathalyser Rip-Offs

France Breathalyser Rip-Offs

Update 7th October 2012: Shortage of tests means the start of fines is delayed until March 1 and Interior Minister Manuel Valls says he will meantime evaluate the usefulness of the law – let’s hope it is scrapped!

Today (July 1st 2012) is the first day the law comes into force requiring all drivers to carry a breathalyser in their car.

Breathalysers – Beware Rip-Offs!

Until November 1st there will be no fines imposed – just a warning.  After that the fine will be 11€.  This includes car drivers, commercial vehicles, motorbikes and scooters but excludes ‘motocylettes’ which can be pedalled.

You can buy breathalysers in France from supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations but there are reports of localised shortages.

You must ensure the breathalyser is marked “NF” for “Norme Français” and that its expiry date has not been reached.


Ferry companies are cashing in on this new law by charging 5€ per breathalyser – but you can buy the same thing in French supermarkets and pharmacies typically for 1.50€ or less.


French residents must beware scam websites in France offering “free” alcootests. Like this one which offers two “free” for 99 cents postage & packaging. If you apply the Terms and Conditions, which they hope you won’t read, mean you’re also signing up to have 8 more delivered automatically every month for 29.96€!!!!


Would it come as a surprise to learn that the head of I-Test, the pressure group that persuaded the Sarkozy government to introduce these compulsory breathalysers, is a senior executive with the main manufacturer of breath testing equipment, Contralco?

I-Test president Daniel Orgeval is head of training at Contralco and the French company had been struggling – but Contralco has taken on 100 extra staff since the measures were announced and now employs 174.  Contralco and Red Line Products are the only two companies that meet the NF standard and Contralco now has almost 80% of the market.


Beware fake products – French customs seized tens of thousands of fake Chinese breathalysers at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Marseille and Lyon in June this year.  Only buy from reputable outlets, never from markets or corner shops with which you are unfamiliar.

9 thoughts on “Beware France Breathalyser Rip-Offs

  1. It’s a real shame to hear that some people are unwittingly buying fake breathalysers.

  2. yes indeed another rip-off for the happy motoring folks like me in France. And I need to get two of those suckers;;;;;

  3. This is truly a bizarre law that they have come up with… just another way to make money on both ends…. what’s next ?

    1. Never underestimate the stupidity and rapacity of our politicians in France. Or the UK. 🙂

  4. But what if you get stopped more than once on a journey?????

    1. What if you get stopped more than once? They don’t want you to use it when they stop you, just to show you have one! They have their own breathalysers which they will use if they want to test you. 😉

  5. Excellent post, all the media are saying you must carry two kits, although I’ve not checked the French regulations on this yet. Not managed to find them in out local shops yet, will try again tomorrow!

    1. Steve, you definitely do NOT need two breathalyser kits. The confusion arises because if you actually use one and you’re stopped, you need to be able to produce another, unused one. If like me you never intend to use it, you only need one!

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