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.
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.
BREATHALYSER RIP-OFF NUMBER ONE
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.
RIP-OFF NUMBER TWO
French residents must beware scam websites in France offering “free” alcootests. Like this one http://www.acheter-ethylotest.info/ 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€!!!!
RIP-OFF NUMBER THREE
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.
RIP-OFF NUMBER FOUR
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.